L06- Ethical values in our everyday lives

Even though there are a lot of ethical codes for various organizations, and the study of ethics has been done for many years, there still seems to be a divide between our working lives and our daily lives. We seem to enforce codes of conduct in places where we could get in trouble with the law or the companies we work for. However; some people don’t seem to mind being unethical if they are not made accounted for. Yet there are still those who prefer to promote these ethical behaviors.

One of the actions that most people find acceptable these days, is file sharing and downloading music illegally. In the article by Ponelis, and Britz (2009) they mention that “piracy through file sharing and illegal downloads alone may have cut album sales by as much as a quarter in recent years, with as many as 40 illegal downloads for every legal one”. We also see this being excused easily, Ponelis and Britz (2009) share a few responses they have found from a downloading website, some of these are:

  • “I don’t feel guilty when I download because they’re rich”
  • “Yes it is stealing, but I claim the Robin Hood cause. Take from the rich and give to the poor (me and my friends)”
  • “Being raised in the pre-computer era, I’ve been screwed by vinyl records, cassettes, CD’s etc. Having wasted thousands of dollars on lame music recordings bundled with one or two good songs for years, I honestly feel good when I download songs. I probably feel just like all those Music Executives while they made millions off these bundled coffee 0coasters. Ironic!”

If we were to implement some of the Code of Ethics of the national association of social workers (NASW) to the first dilemma, we might encounter a different result. From this code of ethics, we are able to see a couple of rules that could be applied, such as:1.01 respect, and 4.04 dishonesty, fraud and deception (National Association of Social Workers, 2008). If we think about the people that created the product, took their time and worked hard to get a finished product, and we think of these principles of respect and honesty, we might be able to abolish that disconnect and make the right choice to buy music legally.

On the other end of this, we can see a great example of ethical behavior from Dan Barber which is carried out by him and his employees. Dan is a chef featured on a series called Chef’s Table. In this documentary, we are able to see that this chef understands the ethical code and he implements it in his work. He does this by always using fresh ingredients that were retrieved from that day’s crops, buying from farms that have good practices and usually understand the importance of symbiotic relationships. Dan also makes sure to do this in his own family farm. He even mentions that he believes that “the highest order of humaneness produces the best favor” (Diagress, 2015).

From Dan we are able to view a couple of ethical standards. Using the Academy of Management Code of ethics (AOM), we are able to tie some of Dan’s conduct and the first of the general principles, responsibility. The principle explains that members of this organization should build relationships of trust, that they should be aware of the responsibilities to society (Academy of Management, 2006). Dan was capable of getting himself and his team to look for good options for their resources. He also understands the importance of farming the right way and the difference it can make for society. He is able to do this for his work, and for his own personal life.

In conclusion, we are able to see two distinct scenarios one in which ethical guidelines and rules have been disregarded. Another, in which the moral values have aided both someone’s work and the people around him. Both of these show the importance of ethical codes and how when implemented and followed, can help people and society,


Academy of Management. (2006). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http://aom.org/About-AOM/Code-of-Ethics.aspx (Links to an external site.)

Diagress, C. (Producer). (2015). Chef’s Table [Television series]. New York, NY: Boardwalk Pictures.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/ (Links to an external site.)

Ponelis, S. R., & Britz, J. J. (2009). The ethics of piracy in the music industry 1. Journal of Information Ethics, 18(2), 14-26. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/1682424864?accountid=13158


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