Most accepted definitions of ethics include the word morals. Morals deal with what is right and wrong, or good and bad. Again, this changes with time and place. So, as the idea of morals change, so must the idea of ethics. Different people look at ethics differently. Cheeseman lists five theories of ethics: ethical fundamentalism, utilitarianism, Kantian, Rawl’s social justice theory, and ethical relativism (Cheeseman, 2012, p. 518). These theories define the way a person decides right from wrong; anything from following readings such as the Bible or the Koran, to just doing what feels right. This variation in theories of how to guide ones morals adds to the idea of ethics changing from time and place.
Workshop two’s student guide poses a question associated with the statement “some people say ethics cannot be taught.” I challenge this statement saying that throughout one’s life, a person learns what is accepted and what is morally right and wrong. I personally feel that yes, ethics can be learned. The theory of ethical fundamentalism says that “persons look to an outside source or a central figure for ethical guidelines” (Cheeseman, 2012, p. 518). In looking for guidance, I am assuming that someone learns to act according to this guidance. The theory of utilitarianism states that a person would “choose the alternative that would provide the greatest good to society” (Cheeseman, 2012, p. 518). I see this as a person making decisions based on what they have learned best fits their current environment. Kantian ethics and Rawl’s social justice theory both relate to rule sets; that again a person can learn. Finally, the theory of ethical relativism comes the closest to supporting that ethics might be more animalistic and natural versus what is learned. Each of the examples above discusses how a person acts when they have what society accepts as “ethics.” The next statement in the workshop two student guide states that “a person is either ethical or they are not. It comes from within and not from without.” I would view the unethical person as someone who does not act in the way his current time and place views as right; therefore, he is viewed as unethical. This person may have decided that what he is doing is right for him. I would go further and say that this person has an unnatural sociopathic personality. I believe that a possibility that the reason this person has not “learned” to act ethically in society is because there other influencing factors keeping this person from acting in a way that would be perceived as “normal.” When managing people, there exist two strategies to influencing ethics; the compliance strategy and the integrity strategy. The compliance strategy influences people to act ethically correct by using a set of rules to