Ethics and morals relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different: ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions. Morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong.
|What are they?||The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.||Principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct. While morals also prescribe dos and don’ts, morality is ultimately a personal compass of right and wrong.|
|Where do they come from?||Social system – External||Individual – Internal|
|Why we do it?||Because society says it is the right thing to do.||Because we believe in something being right or wrong.|
|Flexibility||Ethics are dependent on others for definition. They tend to be consistent within a certain context, but can vary between contexts.||Usually consistent, although can change if an individual’s beliefs change.|
|The “Gray”||A person strictly following Ethical Principles may not have any Morals at all. Likewise, one could violate Ethical Principles within a given system of rules in order to maintain Moral integrity.||A Moral Person although perhaps bound by a higher covenant, may choose to follow a code of ethics as it would apply to a system. “Make it fit”|
|Origin||Greek word “ethos” meaning”character”||Latin word “mos” meaning “custom”|
|Acceptability||Ethics are governed by professional and legal guidelines within a particular time and place||Morality transcends cultural norms.|