Craig L. Williams

Dr. James H. Cook

GEN 480

November 12, 2003

Ethics Awareness Inventory Analysis

Each of us looks at ethics in different ways but all of us seem to agree that there is a “right” and a “wrong”.  We just disagree on how we make those decisions.  Myself, I am an individual who perspective is based upon an individual’s duty or obligation according to the Ethics Awareness Inventory.  Reading through the ethical perspective that they provide, I find lots of things that I agree with.

“What you determine to be the right choice may not appear to be the most beneficial choice, in the short-run, for the organization you have agreed to support.  The right choice does not necessarily maximize the good for the decision maker”.1  I have often made choices that were not in my best interest at the time.  However, I believe that they were the correct choice to make.  With any decision, it is hard to look at the implications long term.  It generally is easier to see what might happen tomorrow based upon your decision, but trying to project several years down the road is a very difficult task.  My crystal ball is not what it used to be. 

“You are frustrated to discover how various individuals define right and wrong, how conflicts are resolved in an organizational setting, and who resolves them.”1  They are right on the money here with this one.  I am very frustrated at work sometimes with how decisions are made.    I am told that the end justifies the means on some projects and I just have to disagree.  Kant’s deontological theory indicates that it is our own goodwill that causes us to act.  Another words we should “always treat every human being, including yourself, as an end in himself and never merely as a means to an end (Ruggiero, 143)”.

Socrates would say that “An uncriticized life is scarcely worth living (Hollister, 108).”  And I would tend to agree.  The Ethics Awareness Inventory’s perspective continues to identify my ethical frustrations. 

·        “Defending your ethical perspective may result in economic hardship, e.g., a lost promotion or termination.”

While I have not faces termination, I have been criticized for my ethical views by a previous supervisor which potentially cost me a promotion at the time.  Our two views clashed violently but I was able to weather the storm and kept documents when I was acting against my better judgment because that is what I was told to do.

            In our interpersonal relationships, we have to understand the diversity of people coming from various backgrounds.  Especially here on the east coast.  People might have been raised in a different country and only recently moved to the United States.  Their method of problem solving or ethical dilemma resolution might be very different from our own.  This potential can impact our social working with this person.  We might have problems relating to them because they do not see things as we see things.  However, this is one advantage of diversity.  We need to open our eyes and understand that they might see things differently.  Recognizing this difference is the first step to understanding it and over coming it.

            I’m not sure if my educational experience has impacted my ethical thinking much.  I think my move from Oregon to New Jersey had a more profound impact on it than my education.  My education did provide me with classroom setting discussions with people from around the country.  If I had remained in Oregon, this would have opened my eyes to the backwards and unrelenting views of some people.  How they are just not interested in changing their views toward the environment or toward blacks or gays.  However, moving here already exposed me to a vast difference of opinion.  I was the secretary of our corporate Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered diversity network.  Having worked with various business units around the country, I had already experienced the wide range of views.  I have had the fortune to live openly in two areas of the country.  Portland, Oregon is very open minded as is the metropolitan New York City area.  I was exposed to these different ethical views through work but school did help.

            There is always going to be conflict between people when looking at the same ethical question.  The rational will differ, but we need to remain to be true to ourselves.  It is our dutye to always act within the limits of our own ethical boundaries and to recognize when we have overstepped those boundaries.  The end does not justify the means. 


Browne, M. Neil. And Keeley, Stuart M. Critical Thinking: Asking the Right Questions. Special

edition. Boston: Pearson Custom, 2000.

Fleming, William. Arts & Ideas, Sixth Edition. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980.

Hollister, C. Warren. Roots of the Western Tradition. Third Edition. New York: John Wiley and

Sons, 1977.

Ruggiero, Vincent Ryan. Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. Fourth edition. Mountain

View, California: Mayfield Publishing, 1997.

1 The Williams Institute for Ethics and Management. Ethics Awareness Inventory.  Tempe, AZ:

University of Phoenix, 2003.