Morality is oftentimes used interchangeably with the term ethics; however, morality and ethics have different definitions. Morality is defined as “a term used to cover those practices and activities that are considered importantly right and wrong; the rules that govern those activities; and the values that are embedded, fostered, or pursued by those activities and practices” (De George, 2010 p. 8). Ethics is defined as “a systematic attempt to make sense of our individual and social moral experience, in such a way as to determine the rules that ought to govern human conduct, the values worth pursuing, and the character traits deserving development in life” (De George, 2010 p. 8). Morals tend to remain the same for an individual; it is as though they are more deeply ingrained than ethics. Ethics may change depending on the situation a person finds themselves in or based upon the ethics of a company they are working for. Morals appear to come from a more religious or spiritual place than that of ethics. Morals are not as easily laid-out in black and white, whereas ethics can be more clearly defined.
According to De George, 2010, “the field of business ethics embraces these different levels of moral analysis in their interconnections, as well as treating them as discrete areas of investigation. A corporation can only be as ethical as the people who own, manage and work for it” (De George, 2010 p. 10). The ethics of a business or corporation is oftentimes put into writing in a code of ethics that all personal are required to follow. Having this in writing allows for all employees to refer back to the code for any clarification necessary. A good code of ethics will address the relationship between the company and its employees, the company and its consumers, the employees with each other, the company's relationship with society, sexual harassment, confidentiality, and the workplace environment.
According to Dictionary.com, LLC (2011), personal ethics can be defined as a “complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual” (Ethics, para. 2). Personal ethics are an account of your