HANDBOOK OF HUMAN VALUES AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
HUMAN VALUES AND
Malwanchal University attaches great importance towards inculcating human values amongst its teaching faculty, students and employees. We respect the fact that human values guide us to take into account the human element when we interact with other human beings. We are also aware that human values touch the qualities of respect, acceptance, appreciation, affection and empathy towards other human beings.
With the above vision, we propagate amongst all our stakeholders that human values are important because they help us to grow and develop. For this, we fully explain the following values to everyone in our University.
Respect for others forms the basis for nurturing team spirit, humanity and friendship among people. The principles in this regard are:
- One should recognize and accept the existence of other people as human beings because everyone has the right to live respectfully.
- One should respect others’ ideas, words, actions and labour. One need not accept or approve or award them but should listen to them and respect their point of view. One may suggest, advise or correct if they commit errors. One should appreciate colleagues and subordinates on their positive actions. One should provide constructive criticism in an attempt to improve their output and encourage them. In this way, they are bound to improve their performance by being motivated and thus by learning and by putting in more efforts into the tasks they take up.
- One should demonstrate goodwill towards others and allow others to grow. This will facilitate strength in others to achieve their goals.
Living peacefully by realising that peace lies within the self helps to spread peace to one’s family, organization where one works and eventually to the world. Those who are at peace with themselves can bring peace to others. You can’t gift an article which you do not possess yourself. Peaceful living may be achieved by inculcating order in one’s life through self regulation, discipline and a sense of duty.
One should nurture pure thoughts enabling one to feel affection for others, having a friendly disposition and not hurting others by thought, word or deed. One should feel and display to others an attitude towards service to others and be happy. One should use one’s talents towards enriching creativity, thereby creating an atmosphere of constructive working spirit.
One should live a healthy and physically fit life so as to be able to experience to the fullest the academic environment in the institution.
One should help the needy in whatever way one can. One should not hurt, abuse or harass others physically, verbally or emotionally.
Integrity may be looked upon as the unity of thought, word and deed with honesty and open mindedness. It includes the capacity to communicate information so that this information helps others to make appropriate and productive decisions. Integrity adds strength and consistency in character, decisions, and actions. This paves the way towards success. It encourages people not only to execute a job well but also to achieve excellence in professional performance. It helps them to own the responsibility and earn self respect and recognition by doing the entrusted job efficiently. It reflects the consistency of one‘s attitudes, emotions and conduct in relation to justified moral values. Honesty and dependability are traits that are expected in workplace situations. Without responsible behaviour, distrust can make a work environment tense and uncomfortable thereby lowering standards and lead to failure. Strong work ethics show co-workers, students and patients that you are reliable and are capable of fulfilling your responsibilities diligently. Polite communication, respectful behaviour and the courage to take on responsibilities also help one to stand out as a trustworthy team member.
Morals are the welfare principles enunciated by the wise, based on their experience and wisdom. One should understand things that ought or ought not to be done in a given situation, things that are right or wrong with regard to handling a situation and that are right or wrong about policies involved.
Civic virtues are the duties and rights of citizens of the country or an integral part of the society and environment. An individual may exhibit civic virtues by voting, volunteering, organizing or assisting in welfare of individuals or groups.
Duties include paying taxes timely, keeping the surroundings clean and green, not polluting water, land, and air by ensuring hygiene and proper garbage disposal and following traffic safety rules. Duties include being responsible towards building a healthy society by saying no to all forms of intoxicants.
Rights include voting righteously, seeking facilities such as education, hospital, community halls, transport, communication facilities, etc. One possesses the right to seek legal remedy in the interest of oneself and / or the society.
Sharing is a begot of caring. Sharing may be described as the transfer of knowledge through teaching, learning, training and exchange of information, experience, commodities like material possessions and facilities with others. This transfer should be genuine, legal, positive, voluntary and without any pressure, without being driven by force or having expectation for returns.
This process of sharing benefits society by experience, expertise and wisdom reaching more people faster. Sharing should be motivated through ethical principles.
Happiness and wealth are multiplied through sharing. Sharing reduces crime and sufferings. It paves the way for peace and obviates terror and fear. Sharing paves the way towards prosperity thereby sustaining it with longevity. By sharing, benefits are maximized as there is no wastage or loss and basic needs are fulfilled. Productivity and utilization are maximized by sharing.
Caring is feeling a sense of responsibility for others. It is a process which exhibits the interest in, and support for the welfare of others with fairness, impartiality and justice in all activities among the employees in the context of professional ethics. Caring includes showing respect to the feelings of others, respecting and preserving the interests of all others concerned. Caring is reflected in activities such as friendship, membership in social activities, professional interactions and through various transactions in the family, fraternity, community, country and in international councils.
Honesty is a virtue that is exhibited through truthfulness and trustworthiness.
Truthfulness includes having the courage to accept the responsibilities upon telling truth. One should keep one’s word or promise. One needs to be courageous enough to admit one’s mistake so that this forms the first step towards rectifying the mistake committed. Reliable judgement, maintenance of truth, defending the truth and communicating the truth so that it may do good to others are some of the reflections of truthfulness.
Trustworthiness is maintaining integrity and taking responsibility for personal performance. People should abide by the law and live by mutual trust. They should function in the right way to win abiding by the laws or rules both legally and morally. They should be able to build trust through reliability and authenticity. They should be able to confront unethical actions done by others and be able take tough and principled stand, if necessary.
Honesty is mirrored in many ways. The common reflections of honesty may be considered to be through the following:
- Beliefs including intellectual honesty.
- Communication through writing, speech or any other means.
- Decisions through ideas as well as the ability to make decisions based on logical discretion.
- Means, timing, place of actions taken and the goals achieved through these actions.
- Communicating honesty by taking a stand and being honest about results achieved.
As against this, some of the actions that lead to dishonesty are lying, deliberate deception, withholding information, not seeking the truth, not maintaining confidentiality and giving professional judgement under external influencing factors.
Valuing time because time is what life is made of. Once time is spent, it is lost forever. It can‘t be either stored or recovered. Hence, time may be considered to be one of the most perishable and most valuable resource. This resource is continuously spent, whether any action is taken or decision made or not. Great reformers and innovators have laid importance on the value of time. It is well known and believed that time and tide wait for no one and procrastination is the thief of time.
Courage is the ability to accept and face risks as well as to take up difficult tasks if necessary in rational ways. Self-confidence is the basic requirement to nurture courage.
Based on the kind of risk, courage may accordingly be used to combat various challenges be they physical, social or intellectual in nature or even a combination of the aforementioned.
Courage to combat Physical challenges: For this, adequate physical strength and endurance is required with the desire to excel.
Courage to combat Social challenges: It involves the decisions and actions to bring about changes based on the conviction for or against certain social behavioural patterns. This requires leadership abilities, including empathy and the will to make sacrifices if necessary, to mobilize and motivate the team members towards a social cause.
Courage to combat Intellectual challenges: It is inculcated in people through acquired knowledge, experience, ethical strategies, education and training.
Individuals should perform the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat). It is important to estimate the risks, compare them with the strengths and then anticipate the end results, while making decisions and before getting into action. Past experiences, both one’s own experiences as well as those of others should be referred to. One should prepare oneself as well as the team to plan and act with self-confidence to be able to succeed in achieving the desired ethical goals through ethical means. However, it is also important to remember at all times that overconfidence can be a threat to success and so an overconfident attitude should be avoided. Opportunities and threats, existing and likely to exist in the future should also be studied. Accordingly, measures to avail such opportunities and measures to combat threats should be planned. This anticipatory management helps one to face future challenges with courage.
Cooperation means working with team spirit. Cooperation results in synergistic integration of operations between individuals / sectors / teams, while not sacrificing the autonomy of either party. Further, working together ensures blending of different skills required towards common goals.
Willingness to understand others so as to be able to think and act together is cooperation. Cooperation promotes positive coordination through target oriented activities. It is essential to plan the sequence as well as priority of work so as to ensure maximizing the output. Work done with cooperation of the team members results in synergistic multifold positive output. It helps in minimizing the input resources including time and maximizes the outputs, which include quantity, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the final output.
The impediments to successful cooperation include clash of ego of individuals, lack of leadership and motivation, conflicts of interests and disagreement of team members to accept leadership. These conflicts of interests could be due to differences in regions, religions, languages, castes and genders which should at all times be avoided. Professional work orientation attitude should be encouraged and adhered to at all times. Ignorance and lack of interest also lead to lack of cooperation.
Through careful planning, motivation, efficient leadership, fostering and rewarding team work, professionalism and humanism leads to cooperation which in turn leads to positive work output. This should be done amicably in an unbiased manner.
Empathy is sensing what others feel. Empathy begins with showing concern towards others. It includes understanding the feelings of others from their point of view. It is also the ability to put oneself into the psychological frame or reference or point of view of another and thus to try understand what the other person feels. This is an essential ingredient for good human relations and transactions.
Commitment denotes aligning of goals and adherence to ethical principles during the activities. One should act after proper introspection and professional judgement of the situation. Once the decisions are made then one should believe in one’s actions. Commitment is the driving force towards achieving success. This is a basic requirement for any profession. The commitment of the officials at higher designations will encourage employees to be committed. Committed work is bound to result in monetary benefits for the organization and thus for the employer, thus for the employee and in turn for the society and the nation at large.
Character is the pattern of morally desirable virtues. Character includes the attitude that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and responses. Individuals vary not only in the type of their character but also in the degree of it. The aim of education is not only the cultivation of the intellect but also the formation of a morally strong character. Increased intelligence or physical skill may easily be employed to the detriment of the community if not accompanied by a morally sound character.
Spirituality is a way of living that emphasizes the constant awareness and recognition of the spiritual dimension of the mind and its development. There needs to be a balance between the materialistic and the spiritual dimension of an individual as well as the society at large.
Spirituality enhances a balanced mind which can lead to more productive creativity, communication skills, recognition of the individual as human being as opposed to a lifeless machine. Spirituality endorses respect towards others, acceptance of others, a far sighted vision with the power of detailed analysis and partnership. Spirituality enhances stability of one’s nature and helps one not to dominate others but in fact be a leader and not a dictator. Spiritual individuals are always ready to share responsibility and benefits with others for better returns.
Spirituality is also the energy that enhances the flexibility in an individual to adapt to challenging and changing situations. One should make space for everyone’s point of view and work. One should learn to recognize and accept people the way they are. A leader can bring together the various positive qualities of the team members to influence them to think and act together. Tolerance and empathy are the reflections of spirituality.
Self-confidence means certainty in one’s own capabilities, values, and goals. Self-confident people are usually positive thinkers. They are flexible and willing to change. They respect others as they respect themselves. Self-confidence is a positive attitude wherein the individual has positive and realistic view of oneself with respect to the situations in which one gets involved. The people with selfconfidence exhibit courage to act with unshakable faith in their abilities. They are not shaken by threats or challenges and are prepared to face these challenges.
People with self-confidence are willing to take a stand, willing to listen, to learn from others and exhibit flexibility. They are frank in their speech and expression. They respect others’ efforts and give due credit.
Malwanchal University strives towards fostering ongoing enquiry into important ethical issues in personal and public life and supporting teaching, research and discussion of ethics and human values. We explore the connection between the problems that professionals confront and the social and political structures in which they act. We address the ethical issues that all citizens face as they make their choices that profoundly affect the present and future of their societies.
With this aim, we mention below the kind of professional ethics we inculcate in our University.
Common Morality comprises a basic set of moral standards as a grouping of rules and moral principles which constitute a rational and socially stable set of rights and wrongs that are so widely accepted. Impartiality and universality are its essential characteristics. Common morality comprises a single moral system shared by all rational adults.
Personal morality or personal ethics is the set of moral beliefs that a person holds. Our personal moral beliefs mostly and closely run parallel to the principles of common morality, such as nonviolence, truthfulness, commitment and contentment. But our personal moral beliefs may differ from common morality in some areas, especially where common morality appears to be unclear or in a state of change.
Professional ethics is the set of standards adopted by professionals. Every profession has its professional ethics, be it the fields of accounting, business, medicine, law, pharmacy, etc.
Some of the important characteristics of professional ethics are:
- Formal code: Unlike common morality and personal morality, professional ethics are usually stated in a formal code. Many such codes are promoted by various components of respective professions.
- Focus: The professional codes of ethics of a given profession focus on the issues that are important in that profession.
- Precedence: In professional relationships, professional ethics take precedence over personal morality.
- Two dimensional: Professional ethics has two dimensions namely:
- Avoiding and preventing evil.
- Promoting and doing good.
- Role morality: This means the moral obligations based on special roles and relationships. For example, parents having a set of obligations to their children, such as not to harm their children, nourish them and promote their flourishing. A political leader has a role morality, the obligation to promote the well-being of citizens. Professional ethics is one of the examples of role morality.
Work ethics is a set of attitudes concerned with the value of work which forms the motivational orientation. It is a set of values based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. Work ethics may include being reliable, being initiative, or pursuing new skills.
Work ethics are aimed at ensuring the following:
- Economic benefit: Getting a job, creating wealth, earning salary.
- Productivity: Of wealth and of profit.
- Safety: In workplace.
- Health and hygiene: In working conditions.
- Privacy: To raise a family.
- Security and permanence: Contractual, pension and retirement benefits.
- Cultural and social development: Through leisure, hobbies and happiness.
- Welfare: Through social work.
- Safeguarding the environment: Through antipollution activities.
- Offering opportunities: For all according to their abilities without discrimination.
Workers exhibiting good work ethics should be selected for better positions of more responsibility and ultimately promoted. Work ethics are a set of accompanying virtues which play an important role in the development of a productive work environment.
Moral dilemmas are situations in which moral reasons come into conflict or situations in which the application of moral values pose problems. In moral dilemmas, there is lack of clarity. The moral reasons could be rights, duties, goods or obligations. This makes the decision making complex and difficult.
Complex situations leading to moral dilemmas may be:
- Vagueness: One is unable to distinguish between good and bad (right or wrong) principle.
- Conflicting reasons: One is unable to choose between two good moral solutions. One needs to set priorities through knowledge or value system.
- Disagreement: There may be two or more solutions and none of them mandatory. These solutions may be better or worse in some respects but not in all aspects. One needs to interpret the situation, apply different moral reasons and then analyse and rank the decisions. Then one needs to select the best suitable decisions under the existing situation.
The logical steps in confronting / addressing moral dilemma are:
- Identification of the moral factors and reasons. The clarity to identify the relevant moral values from the duties, rights, goods and obligations is obtained.
- Collection of all information, data, and facts relevant to the situation.
- Rank the moral options.
- Generate alternate courses of action to resolve the dilemma. Write down the main options and sub-options in the form of a decision tree to ensure that all options are included.
- Discuss the matter with colleagues and obtain their perspectives, priorities and suggestions on the various alternatives.
- Decide upon a final course of action.
- If there is no ideal solution then arrive at a satisfactory solution.
Moral autonomy denote decisions and actions exercised on the basis of moral concern for other people and recognition of good moral reasons. Moral autonomy may also be understood as skills and habits of thinking rationally about ethical issues on the basis of moral concern. Periodical performance appraisals, tight time schedules and fear of foreign competition threatens this autonomy.
If management views profitability as more important than consistent quality and retention of stable staff then it will discourage the moral autonomy and staff may be compelled to seek support from their professional societies and from other sources outside the organization for moral support. Skills related to moral autonomy:
- Proficiency in recognizing moral problems and the ability to distinguish as well as relate them to problems. This includes:
- Skills in comprehending, clarifying and critically assessing arguments on different aspects of moral issues.
- Ability to form consistent and comprehensive viewpoints based on facts.
- Awareness of alternate responses to the issues and creative solutions for practical difficulties.
- Sensitivity to genuine difficulties including willingness to undergo and tolerate uncertainty while making decisions.
- Using rational dialogue in resolving moral conflicts and developing tolerance of different perspectives among morally reasonable people.
- Maintaining moral integrity.
Authority is independence in decision making and actions. It provides freedom for action specified within limits, depending on the situation.
Autonomy is different from authority. Moral autonomy and respect for authority can coexist. They are not against each other. If the authority of the official with higher designation and the moral autonomy of the staff are in conflict then a consensus should obtained by the two through discussion and mutual understanding of their limits.