Working Ethics: How to Be Fair in a Culturally Complex World

Working Ethics: How to Be Fair in a Culturally Complex World

Working Ethics: How to Be Fair in a Culturally Complex World

Working Ethics: How to Be Fair in a Culturally Complex World


This book sets out an ethical foundation for professionals and for the professions in a modern, culturally complex society. This book will be of interest to anyone who takes seriously their obligations to society as a whole and to the individuals with whom they work. Richard Rowson puts forward an ethical framework comprising four basic elements fairness, respect for autonomy, integrity, and seeking the most beneficial and least harmful consequences. The three parts of the book explore: sources of ethical guidance such as laws, social conventions, professional codes of conduct and religious beliefs, identifying the ethical values integral to the professions the obligations these values give to members of the professions, and the ethical issues which arise when they are concerned to produce benefits and prevent harm, treat people fairly, respect others and act with integrity how these values might be incorporated into professional practice.


We generally see ethics as giving us a standpoint from which to decide what is right and wrong and what we ought or ought not to do. Ethics is not, however, the only source of guidance from which we judge behaviour to be acceptable and unacceptable. Every day we make such judgements from the perspectives of law, social convention, professional codes of conduct, religious beliefs, aesthetic taste, politics and practicality. Moreover we often consider a situation from the standpoints of more than one of these, as the following scenario demonstrates.

A police patrol stops a car for exceeding the speed limit. The
driver is a father desperate to get his heavily bleeding child to
hospital. Although the police officers are aware that what the
father did was legally wrong, they think it is morally right to try to
save a life and so they help him reach the hospital by driving
ahead of him with lights and sirens going.

Here follow some definitions and scenarios that make clear the different standpoints we use when making judgements about what is right and wrong.


We judge behaviour as right or wrong from the legal standpoint when we consider whether it complies with, or goes against, the laws of a particular country.

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