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Role Of Values Moral Norms And Descriptive Norms

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Discuss about the Role Of Values, Moral Norms, And Descriptive Norms.



Moral Norms and Values:


It is important to define morality and ethical values and norms in every aspect of life. Most of the times, the companies tend to make decisions which do not belong to the moral range. However, it is important to me to define ethics in everyday life. This is an outline of professional ethics which investigates the ethical or moral principles and the ethical issues arising within the society. These ethical values and norms apply to all kinds of social contexts and are relevant to the individual and organizational conducts. Many theorists agree that higher ethical standards should be set in both the individual and social contexts for ensuring a moral behaviour. However, some particular aspects should be considered before applying ethics in the society. The core values and ethics of a person tend to reflect truth and honesty of that individual. Also I believe that ethical behaviour is the guideline of the foundation of a person’s failure or success. Therefore here I will discuss my moral norms and values and its importance in life.



It is essential for me to understand that ethics is not an intellectual game, without any   realistic relevance. Becoming moral individuals is only possible by practice. Furthermore, there is nothing theoretical regarding ethics in business; rather it is another tool for helping the real life the way an individual deals with his or hers moral dilemmas in regular life. There is always a correlation between out worldviews and the major decisions we make in our daily lives. If a person believes that he or she has to be concerned only in maximising his or her own profits, the decisions will be taken accordingly. On the other hand, if a person is conscious about the social policies and moral theories and know how some activities can be harmful for the society, he or she will make judgements in accordance to that. The concept of ethics emphasizes on the ethical and moral actions of individuals. There are also individuals who are influenced more by religious beliefs. As their ethical values and norms have been taught to them as a part of their religion, they apply those norms in their activities. As a common person, I believe that I have the fundamental ethical norms such as honesty, integrity, fairness, openness, social responsibility, trustworthiness, respecting others which are essential for dealing with actions fairly.

One of my major ethical code is honesty which is a fundamental code of treating others fairly and be decline lying. I believe that being honest and fair will always help us to carry out the social responsibility we have. Along with that, integrity is also necessary as an ethical norm as I believe that keeping the world of promise without any change shows my sincerity and commitment. Value is a significant part of our social duty as it is the foundation of all human being. Therefore these ethical norms lay the foundation of such moral values. However my own ethical framework goes around the idea that needs spiritual, emotional and cognitive investment. Furthermore my life experiences have strengthened my personal ethical beliefs. It can be said that my ethical principles are mostly guided by the deontological ethics that refers to the normative ethics which tend to judge the ethics and morality of any action on the basis of the existing rules. Sometimes even the rules tend to bind the individuals to their personal duties. Immanuel Kant’s theory has been considered as deontology as he argues that people should act morally and according to their duty. At the same time he also stated that it is not the consequences of any action which make those wrong or right anyway but the individual motives tend to carry out the particular actions. I always believe that one should act honestly and purely for making the maximum good. Good consequence will always arise if one is working with good consequences.

It is also my responsibility to apply the moral general principles, such as honesty, compassion, fairness, integrity to the business functions for resolving or clarifying the moral problems that tend to arisen our everyday life. The moral philosophy tends to refer to the rules or principles that individuals utilize for reflecting on the wrong or right. For instance, if I am working somewhere, my fundamental philosophies will be guided by the ethical rules and norms that will encourage my workers in manufacturing as many products as possible. However, when I have to make decision regarding the upcoming layoffs, there can be ethical dilemma. There may be some workers who require advance notice, but this can have a negative effect on the quantity or quality of the production. Therefore in such situation I would consider the deontology which mostly focuses on the fundamental rights of the individual and the associated actions. This theory believes that there are few rules and regulations that cannot be avoided even if it is for increasing the utility. Therefore I may consider giving the employees a second chance for the time being as it may infringe on the fundamental rights of the employee, even if there may a lot of utility from the business perspective. Furthermore, I believe that sticking to ethical principles is important as it is necessary not only for the professional practices, but also for the individual rights.



I consider that ethics is a complicated notion which may need the spiritual, emotional and cognitive investments. My ethical principles have gone through several revolutionary stages. However, I believe that within the business world, the companies should follow a fundamental rules and regulations which will help them in making decisions. The organisational justice should always be served along with contributing to the society. The organizational justice can be encouraged by offering workers what they deserve or even letting have a voice for their needs. At the same time, the organization should also serve the community they reside in.

Foundation of moral norms and values and Ethical relativism:


The human rights and the responsibilities of the business organizations on the society also come with the widely discussed issue of cultural relativism. There are several literatures that focus on the moral responsibility of the business organizations. As a result to those discussions, the notion of ethical relativism comes to play. At first, the concept of ethical relativism seems like a sensible argument for defending various cultural groups, especially in the era of globalization (Kopelman 2018). However, analyzing the theory of ethical relativism shows that it may not be as practical as it seems. Therefore, here I will reflect on my own moral norms and ethical values against ethical relativism and defend those against the concept of ethical relativism.



The theory of ethical relativism refers to the idea that the values and ethics that are expressed in any culture are only be valued and understood depending upon the society, culture or the personal place an individual reside in. Another elaborated definition of the concept indicates that the moral philosophy for identifying the values that have been set up by any society for guiding their own lives tend to lay stress on the inherent dignity of the custom body. It is also said that every culture tends to constitute their own social world with their own moral values, ethical disposition and personified behaviours (Pearson 2016). Therefore it can be said from these concepts that the ethical relativism is the notion which indicates that the ethical judgements and values of an individual should only be perceived according to that individual’s own cultural beliefs or personal experiences. However, while the Universalist approach of the rights and moral and ethical values indicate that few things should stay the way they are. Fundamental rules should be followed as the business organizations should also have the responsibility towards their community and the outer world as they have to adhere to the human rights other than maximising the profits of the business organization.

However, the ethical relativism theory argues that there are ethical justifications behind the claim that several beliefs and practices tend to differ from one community to another and it should be widely accepted as a relative approach to other cultural beliefs. For example, some cultures have the ritual of eating the dead bodies. The ethical relativism theory may argue that it is not possible to justify these cultural beliefs and they should not be termed as wrong or right. This view also indicates that there is no ultimate truth which can be the basic of deciding whether some practices are right or wrong (Van Staden and Fulford 2015). They believe that the truth is dependent on a specific culture and therefore people who are following this culture can only be the one who can decide on the wrong or right ones. Therefore it can be said that if the truth is relative, the notion of morality is an essential part of this debate (Shafer-Landau 2014). The ethical values and norms of an individual refer to the culture or the environment we have grown up. Therefore, if I have been born to a place where focusing only on my own profits is natural,  a part of company management I will only take decisions that maximizes the profits of my company and I will not be concerned about the social responsibility or the moral dilemma. Therefore, it also implies that if my surroundings and culture did not teach me to be honest, I will never act honestly within the business environment. The ethical relativism is defined as the norms considered by a specific society at a specific time, therefore the ethical relativism is perceived in various ways within various cultures. It can also be said that the relativists considers that the ethical values are only valued with a specific boundary. Therefore as stated by the ethical relativism theory the concept of ethical and moral values cannot ever be universal. However I have some fundamental values such as fairness, integrity, loyalty, respecting others etc. If an individual is not abiding by these fundamental norms, his or her actions cannot be justified with ethical relativism theory. These are fundamentals of being a responsible citizen and no matter what culture or personal belief an individual belongs to, he or she should always abide by these norms. If the ethical relativism theory is justified then one culture can justify their thoughts as their moral obligation. However if the person misconducts with others, ethical relativism theory tends to justify that considering these norms to be relative to their cultures, but this can never be rationalized anyway.



Few cultures would also agree that these practices are done under strict moral and ethical principle which can be considered as the duty of the society for protecting women. However, I do not believe that there can be any logical link between this and moral and ethical relativism as illustrated by the theorists. I tend to disagree with the views of ethical relativism as despite the ethical beliefs being relative culturally. There are always some beliefs such as respecting others, honesty, integrity, fairness, loyalty which cannot be relative at all. There have been several debates on women dressing in a conventionally decent way or not. Furthermore there have been numbers of ethical violations like torturing, genocide or slavery which should have a universal and fundamental moral standard. Therefore it can be said that not all activities should be considered as a relative idea just because these activities are considered as being such. If we start considering that the ethical beliefs are relative from culture to culture, the violence around the world can be justified. The immoral practices by several business organizations which are taking our community to a darker side can also be justified. However, these are not supposed to be so. Therefore, it can be said that even if the concept of ethical relativism gives us the idea of tolerance, but it cannot justify some activities. Therefore I believe my ethical norms and values are more rational and sensible than the ethical relativism theory.


Reference list

Arpan, L.M., Barooah, P. and Subramany, R., 2015. The role of values, moral norms, and descriptive norms in building occupant responses to an energy-efficiency pilot program and to framing of related messages. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 14(1), pp.23-32.

Botetzagias, I., Dima, A.F. and Malesios, C., 2015. Extending the theory of planned behavior in the context of recycling: The role of moral norms and of demographic predictors. Resources, conservation and recycling, 95, pp.58-67.

Devinney, T., 2015. Annals in Social Responsibility: bringing new perspectives to the study of social responsibility. Annals in Social Responsibility, 1(1).

Flammer, C., 2015. Does corporate social responsibility lead to superior financial performance? A regression discontinuity approach. Management Science, 61(11), pp.2549-2568.

Grad, I. and Frunza, S., 2016.Postmodern Ethics and the Reconstruction of Authenticity in Communication-Based Society. Revista de CercetaresiInterventieSociala, (53).

Gupta, A., Briscoe, F. and Hambrick, D.C., 2017. Red, blue, and purple firms: Organizational political ideology and corporate social responsibility. Strategic Management Journal, 38(5), pp.1018-1040.

Habermas, J., 2015. Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy. John Wiley & Sons.

Ioannou, I. and Serafeim, G., 2015. The impact of corporate social responsibility on investment recommendations: Analysts' perceptions and shifting institutional logics. Strategic Management Journal, 36(7), pp.1053-1081.

Jubb, R. and Rossi, E., 2015. Political norms and moral values. Journal of philosophical research, 40, pp.455-458.

Kopelman, L.M., 2018. Female Genital Circumcision and Conventionalist Ethical Relativism. In Globalizing Feminist Bioethics (pp. 219-237). Routledge.

Korschun, D., Bhattacharya, C.B. and Swain, S.D., 2014. Corporate social responsibility, customer orientation, and the job performance of frontline employees. Journal of Marketing, 78(3), pp.20-37.

Laurence, J., 2015. The efficacy of neighbourhood attitudes as measures of social capital: returning to norms and values and the centrality of networks (pp. 145-165). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Lins, K.V., Servaes, H. and Tamayo, A., 2017. Social capital, trust, and firm performance: The value of corporate social responsibility during the financial crisis. The Journal of Finance, 72(4), pp.1785-1824.

Malle, B.F., Scheutz, M., Arnold, T., Voiklis, J. and Cusimano, C., 2015, March. Sacrifice one for the good of many?: People apply different moral norms to human and robot agents. In Proceedings of the tenth annual ACM/IEEE international conference on human-robot interaction (pp. 117-124).ACM.

Pearson, R., 2016. Beyond ethical relativism in public relations: Coorientation, rules, and the idea of communication symmetry. In Public relations research annual (pp. 77-96).Routledge.

Platteau, J.P., 2014. The free market is not readily transferable: Reflections on the links between market, social relations, and moral norms. Occasional Paper, (6), pp.71-178.

Ruggie, J.G., 2017. The theory and practice of learning networks: Corporate social responsibility and the Global Compact. In Learning To Talk (pp. 32-42).Routledge.

Shafer-Landau, R., 2014.The fundamentals of ethics.

Van Staden, C.W. and Fulford, K.W.M., 2015. The Indaba in African values-based practice: respecting diversity of values without ethical relativism or individual liberalism. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatric Ethics, 1, pp.295-318.

Williams, R.N., Agle, B.R. and Gates, D., 2018. Teaching business ethics: current practice and future directions. In The Routledge Companion to Business Ethics (pp. 80-96).Routledge.


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