U04: Personal Histories

I have been a part of many different companies with many different company policies.  Each of these policies have different ethical principles that they enforce.  Over the course of my experience I have learned that individuals within the organization I work for interpret these policies differently.

 After reading about how personal histories play a role in ethical decisions, I was enlightened to the idea that companies have to accommodate for this variances.  “Individual choices in life stem from many different areas, one of which is the idea of values that we discussed earlier in the semester. If someone values earning a lot of money from a prestigious company, that value is going to lead to choices that influence whether or not the person gets that type of job. Those choices may involve ethical or unethical behavior depending on how much the person values the job and how strong her/his other values are” (PSU, n.d).  Values are variant among each individual, just like personality.  As quoted in The Journal of Value Based Leadership: “Values are the essence of who we are as human beings. Our values get us out of bed every morning, help us select the work we do, the company we keep, the relationships we build, and ultimately, the groups and organizations that we lead. Our values influence every decision and move we make, even to the point of how we choose to make our decisions” (as cited in Dean, n.d).  It is important for a leader to understand how personal differences play a role in how people interpret ethics, knowing the different values will help them guide their employees in the direction of the company.  A good way to lead the employees is “leading by example, that is, doing the right thing for the right reasons and not compromising core principles. A leader who embraces this type of thinking can become very successful in fostering strategic vision and gaining the support and partnership of other potential business partners” (Dean, n.d).  In the workplace, there are opportunities that present themselves that the leader can help guide their employees and influence them, and a good leader will guide them in the right direction.  I have had leaders on both side of the spectrum and when I encountered a leader with different values than me it was very difficult to work for that individual, I ended up resigning from that position because of the conflict it was causing.  Like in my situation, “in some workplace scenarios, these differences, whether real or perceived, may detrimentally impact the employee, depending on whether or not the manager has the ability to recognize and respect the employee’s differences. Management instability arises when a manager demonstrates no tolerance for diversity” (Dean, n.d).  Some employees at the office I worked for had similar values as me and we bonded over the fact, while others had similar values to the leader. Those that were in line with the leader worked hard to the company goals whereas those who did not see eye to eye were less motivated to complete their jobs.  Personality and values play a huge role how people experience life and I believe that my experiences have helped me strengthen my views on ethics.  A “person may encounter that situation multiple times, so her/his ethical reasoning will most likely improve because of that history” (PSU, n.d).


Dean, K. W. (n.d.). Journal of Values Based Leadership – Valparaiso University. Retrieved from: http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol1issue1/contents.php

Penn State University (n.d).  PSY 533: Ethics and Leadership.  Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/

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