Last Updated: June 2023 (Ethics in Private and Public Relationships)
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Ethics in Private and Public Relationships
This article deals with a topic titled ‘Ethics in Private and Public Relationships .’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.
Ethics in Worklife
- Every employer wants his employees to work efficiently, honestly and at their full capacity. It is a rightful expectation for an employer because he pays a salary to workers & in return, employees must also reciprocate.
- The employee must develop loyalty to the organization. Loyalty to the organization means an employee should always work in the organization’s interests over his self-interests.
- The organization should also look into the grievance redressal of the employees. Hence, a good organization must have a good grievance redressal mechanism. The grievance can be against salary, work conditions etc.
- The employee must have a sense of responsibility. When a person is promoted, it means that the person’s responsibility has increased. But the irony of the situation is when a person is promoted, he only looks at the salary & authority and forgets responsibility.
- The arrogance of power should be guarded against. Whenever we rise in an organization, various powers and authorities are vested in us. Typically, people develop arrogance of power in this process. Hence, this is the one area that one should look into.
- Senior members should also display honesty and integrity because they are the torchbearers of the organization and act as role models for their juniors.
Worklife also has some minor virtues, which include
- One should be cheerful.
- One should be polite.
- One should be courteous.
- One should be punctual.
Ethics in Public Relationships
- It refers to the moral principles that a person may follow when interacting with others and conducting business in their professional life.
- Public life has to be in an ethical framework. When somebody enters public life, whether as MLA or MP, i.e. through the election system or as Civil Servant, i.e. through Selection System, he can’t say that they will conduct their life normally. There has to be some special ethics for such persons. Hence, a special ethical framework is prepared for the people in public life. They are supposed to be strictly guided by that ethical framework.
Principles in Public Relationships
- Selflessness: Holders of public office should act solely in the public interest.
- Integrity: Holders of public office shouldn’t obligate themselves in any way, whether financially or otherwise, to outside individuals or organizations
- Objectivity: Public officials should take decisions based on merit
- Accountability: Holders of public office should be accountable for their actions taken by them.
- Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible
- Honesty: Holders of public office must declare any private interests relating to their public duties
- Loyalty to the Organization
- Spirit of Service
- Fairness & Justice
But in previous years, moral erosion of public servants has been observed. Reasons for moral erosion are
- Lack of accountability and responsibility: If anything goes well, there is no shortage of people to claim that they are behind that. But if anything goes wrong, nobody is ready to take responsibility.
- Sacrificing ethics, values, integrity and spiritualism: These things are sacrificed in comparison to materialism & worldly success.
- Social Acceptance: Society as a whole has started to accept corrupt people.
- Failure on the part of family, schools, society and institutions to inculcate values
- Mega Administration, slow methodology and decision-making delay: Each department and institution has grown vertically and horizontally. It has created confusion in the hierarchy leading to delays in decision-making.
- Soft Society, tolerant public opinion and politico-business-bureaucracy nexus: The public doesn’t resent wrongdoings. It gives decision-makers more liberty to commit such crimes in future.
Ethics in Private Relationships
- It refers to the ethical principles that a person adheres to when dealing with other people and situations in daily life. It primarily involves relations with family & friends.
- They are informal in nature since they are built on emotional ties rather than any formal procedures that govern them.
Principles in Private Relationships
Although private ethics differ from person to person, some common principles are shared and accepted by society. For example –
- Honesty: Being truthful and transparent in your personal relationships is important.
- Respect: Respecting the boundaries, beliefs, and opinions of others is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
- Fairness: Treating others with fairness is important.
- Confidentiality: Maintaining confidentiality and privacy in personal relationships and not sharing personal information without their consent.
- Empathy: Demonstrating empathy and compassion towards others by listening to and understanding their concerns.
- Communication: Effective communication is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
- Loyalty: Loyalty to the partner and family members is essential.
Relation between Private Ethics & Public Ethics
- The distinction between private and public ethics is dubious because, in public and private lives, a person lives by the same ethical values in general. Moreover, no sharp line can be drawn between where private life starts, and public life ends for a Civil Servant. The very philosophy of Civil Service says that when a person becomes Civil Servant, he loses his individuality and becomes part of larger order.
- Furthermore, one cannot expect someone who lacks moral character in public life to be ethical in their private life and vice versa. How a civil servant treats women in his family is reflected in how he handles female co-workers.
- There should be no conflict between personal and professional ethics as it may lead to frustration, guilt, confusion & dissonance in the mind of some persons.
- But at the same time, Ethics in public life places a greater responsibility & a person cannot always follow his personal ethics. For example, personally, one may feel abortion is morally wrong, but as a doctor, he needs to do an abortion according to professional ethics. When performing a role in public, one must separate his personal life and strictly follow a professional code of conduct.
- A person’s private life can act as a motivating factor but many times can be depressing. The environment from which a person comes to the office daily certainly influences his behaviour for the rest of the day.
- His personal affiliations, the ideology of his family and his convictions can stop him from taking rational decisions
How to ensure that both lives remain separate
- Take decisions rationally and objectively based on facts and merits only.
- Go by the code of conduct when faced with dilemmas.
- Be impartial always and ensure that your actions aren’t only impartial but look to be impartial too.
- When with family, spend quality time with them and don’t bring your office between you and them. Make them feel that you are not ignoring them, so they are helpful when you are in important public concerns and do not bother you.