Deepika Mudgal/ ETHICAL DUALITY IN PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES: A SOCIAL AUDIT IN BHIWANI, HARYANA

Deepika Mudgal

Research Scholar, Management,

JJTU, Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan-India)

ABSTRACT

In broader sense ethics plays a very important role in behaviour. Human beings fulfil social and moral responsibilities and justify the acts and conducts committed in profession life. In general, at common platform it has been observed that ethics and ethical behaviour in the professional dealings during day to day work at workplaces as well as other places in the society are an essential requirement. A significant question arises how many professionals or businessmen really understand the meaning of the “Ethics” and how many of them know their own professional ethics and follow them?

This paper studies ethical duality based on the practical data collected through primary and secondary sources from Healthcare, Education, Lawyers and Retail Sector located in Bhiwani city of Haryana State. There are 50 respondents from each profession. The objectives of the study is (i) to know percentage of people of each profession who really know the meaning and purpose of Ethics (ii) to know the reasons of Professional Ethics by the people in the society (iii) to know the impact of violation of Professional Ethics on the society

Key Words: Ethics, Ethical Practices, Professional, Workplace, Society

 

Introduction

The word “Ethics” has been derived from the Greek word “ethos”, which means “way of living”. Ethics is a branch of philosophy which is related to the conduct of human beings, precisely the behaviour of an individual in the society. Ethics analyses and explore the rational justification for moral judgments; it studies what is morally right or wrong, whether the committed act by someone is morally justified or unjustified.

In the broader context ethics reflects the behaviour of human being while interacting with nature, other human beings living in the surroundings, fulfilling the social and moral responsibilities and justifying the acts and conducts committed by an individual.

In other words, ethics is concerned with independent actions of the people in the society. It focuses on the relationship between human beings and rest of the world. This independence is an essential and primary condition in ethical decision-making and in any objective analysis of the facts. Individuals demonstrate their independence during a decision-making process, they choose to keep themselves free as much as possible from their conditioning. Insofar as this operation assumes a degree of lucidity that allows us to judge objectively and to decide what direction to take, it will be understood that making ethical decision is difficult.

The issue of values and ethics is now centralized to a great concern. Indian society has witnessed many significant changes in the modern age and will witness more in the times to come. The modern society is adopting the change and transformation by bringing changes in capacities and capabilities as per prevailing requirements and demand of the organizations with changing technology. Since, the service for citizens must be the priority of a government that wishes to reinforce collective bonds. A well-informed citizen is highly demanded. The moral and ethical values of an individual can make any organization; be it a government or a private organization; absolutely transparent. In modern times the society has witnessed the degradation of moral and ethical values in human beings to a great extent. The ethical values can enable the human beings to achieve the personal and organizational objectives in a consistent and constructive manner.

In the present age almost every learned person talks about ethics, ethical practices and holistic approach, but it is something that is to be implemented in others conduct and character. It has become a parameter to judge others. Everybody in the society wants to be famous, and respectable like Shaeed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, but none is ready to be hanged. It has become a common practice to talk on the public platform. The so called great, high profile, and reputed people leading luxurious and aristocratic life exhort people in the society to follow the Ethical and Moral Values practiced in Ancient Indian Culture as if they have reached the status of superhuman and these practices are not for them. That has become the character of high profile people in India and they appear before the society with mask of morality, nationality and honesty but when truth is revealed, the reality is different. This is the duality of the real life.

There are innumerable reports in the media about several responsible persons who were trusted by the nation and society and given responsibilities to lead the people of the nation and protect them from all evils, but they themselves have been found on the wrong paths e.g.

(1) Teachers have been bestowed the position of God in Indian Culture and have been worshipped by their disciples like God. The famous poets of Hindi and Sanskrit have written following lines in the honor of teachers:-

GURU GOVIND DOU KHADE KAKE LAAGUN PAON |

BALIHARI GURU AAPNE JINHE GOVIND DIYO BATAYE||

(Sant Kabir )[1]

 

(The famous poet Kabir Das asked himself, “my teacher (guru) and the almighty God both are standing before me; to whom should I pay my obeisance first? After a speculation he decided that he should first honor his teacher (guru) who has made him capable that he could see the almighty God)

GURAR BRAHMA GURUR VISHNU, GURUR DEVO MAHESHWARAH |

GURUR SAKSHAAT PARAM BRAHMA, TASMAI SHREE GURUVE NAHAH ||

(Guru Stotram) [2]

According to Hindu mythology LORD BRAHMA, LORD VISHNU, LORD SHIVA means the three supreme powers; above everything is my teacher (guru) because the teacher is the only LORD to whom I can interact, take help and guidance from him. Hence, I bow before him and pay my obeisance.

(2) The Doctors and the people connected with the profession of medical care/ healthcare have been considered next to almighty God because they serve the mankind which is a noble professional.

(3) The Lawyers who prevent the society from illegal, immoral acts. So, the legal profession is also one of the most respectable professions and noble in the nature.

(4) The businessmen who are doing their business at ground level and help the society by making them all commodities available near their vicinity and help the people of society in their difficult moments, so the retailers/ small businessmen also play a significant role in the society.

The above mentioned professionals have their separate professional ethics and as they follow them, they are honored by the society. All the above mentioned professions are having their image of keeping high level of Ethics and Moral Values and the every profession mentioned above has its own code of conduct/ ethics which is necessary to be followed to maintain high standard of nobility in the society as well as to keep the trust of the people alive in the professionals. The code of conduct of the above mentioned professions i.e. Teaching, Healthcare, Legal and Retail Business are as mentioned below:

Ethics of teaching profession: It has been an established Indian dogma that education shapes destiny and teacher shapes the nation. Thus there lies a considerable power and authority in the hands of a teacher who leads the process. Apart from teaching a few other equally respected professions have been the professions of doctors and lawyers. They are supposed to set up examples by leading their lives as role models. As the ideals of the society, they are expected to adhere to the norms and in accordance with their expected image and respond as per societal demands. People may receive guidance from their way of living and behaving at various occasions. Though, well documented prescribed and proscribed codes of ethics are available for the professionals of medicine and law, yet for the professionals of teaching there is no such document describing ethical codes are available. Only statements of ethics are traceable for the teachers as well. This code of conduct is not to be followed mandatorily by a teacher. Thus, there may be many teachers who are unaware of these statements/principles of their profession. Ethical questions can complicate a situation by posing a situation of ethical dilemma. There are always grey areas. Still, there lies some basic information that all college instructors should be aware of. A few requisites are as under:

 

  1. To respects others autonomy and integrity.
  2. Causing no harm to others i.e. physical or emotional resulting from acts of commission or omission.
  3. Benefiting society
  4. Fairness and equal behaviour and dealing with all irrespective of closeness of relations.
  5. Fidelity and honesty
  6. Dignity
  7. Caring
  8. Doing one’s best

 

Ethics of Doctors and other Medical/ Healthcare Professionals:-

Medical Ethics are defined as the values and guidelines which helps the doctors in decision making during the practice of medicine and while dealing with his/ her colleagues and patients. The oldest code of medical ethics was Hippocratic Oath. It was modified by World Medical Association in September, 1948 and was called as Declaration of Geneva. It was amended at Sydney in 1968 and the same is followed by Medical Council of India (M.C.I.) as code of medical ethics in India. At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession, every medical officer has to sign a pledge that he/ she will follow these ethics during professional practice throughout his/her professional career.

  1. I, solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.
  2. I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity.
  3. I will maintain by all the means in my power the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession.
  4. Even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.
  5. I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due.
  6. My colleagues will be my brothers.
  7. The health of my patient will be my first consideration.
  8. I will maintain the utmost respect of human life from the time of conception.
  9. I will respect the secrets which are confided in me, even after the patient has died.
  10. I will not permit considerations of age, sex, religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene my duty and my patient.
  11. Ethics of Lawyers/ Legal Professionals: “The fundamental aim of Legal Ethics is to maintain the honor and dignity of the Law Profession, to secure a spirit of friendly co-operation between the Bench and the Bar in the promotion of highest standards of justice, to establish honorable and fair dealings of the counsel with his client opponent and witnesses ; to establish a spirit of brotherhood in the Bar itself ; and to secure that lawyers discharge their responsibilities to the community generally.” Legal profession is not a business but a profession. It has been created by the state for the public good. Consequently, the essence of the profession lies in the three things-
  12. Organization of its members for the performance of their function ;
  13. Maintenance of certain standards, intellectual and ethical for the dignity of the profession;
  14. Subordination of pecuniary gains to efficient services.

Ethics of Retail Businessmen:

This complex environment brings key questions in relation to professional business ethics sharply into focus:-

An appropriate tactics to apply in buying negotiations.
A reasonable profit margin to be accommodated in the process.
Reasonable terms and conditions to impose on a supplier.
Trustworthy relationship has to be maintained between buyers and suppliers.
A retailer should not blackmail the customers in adverse circumstances.
No adulterated foods should be sold.
The commodities which may cause harm to the human life should not be sold.

Although the above codes of conduct have been formulated in order to maintain high level of mutual trust in the society as well as for giving and receiving services from each other, yet nowadays the malpractices of violation of above mentioned ethics is increasing day by day and harming not only the social relations but also harming the humanity. Even the people of high level of repute are sometimes traced and their involvement is found in the infringement of the codes of conduct of their respective profession. Thus, in the light of above said facts the research has been carried out and presented through this paper. Study also attempts to highlight the dual characteristics and masked faces of the people those who are responsible for maintaining the high level of ethical standard. This breach of trust through infringement of Ethical and Moral Values of the profession is affecting adversely on the social relations of the people of the society living therein.

Objectives

Here are the following objectives of writing this research paper to bring the report of a social audit conducted by the authors of this paper in the Bhiwani City of Haryana State in India:

 

  • To find out percentage of people in the society who really adhere to the Ethics in their profession.
  • To know the reason of violation of Professional Ethics by the people in the society.
  • To know the impact of violation of Professional Ethics on the society.

Review of Literature

Sudhir Choudhary (2014) news reader of an eminent Hindi News Channel named as “Zee News” in the special programme telecasted daily i.e. “Daily News Analysis from 09:00 p.m. to 09:30 p.m.” All India Association of Bank Employees’ report was presented to the public in which it had been brought to the knowledge of common man that Rs.2,36000/- crore taken as a loan from the multiple Banks of India but have not been returned by the several big businessmen organizations of the India which is against the Business Ethics of any industry. [3]

  1. C. Verma (2014) a retired professor has mentioned in his report published in Amar Ujala (Hindi-Daily)-’My City Bhiwani-supliment “No teaching in Government Schools, Loot in Private School” Today everyone wants to send his children to the Private Schools for study, the reason being there is control over teachers in the schools. The teachers of Private Schools remain under the control of the Principal, regular classes are being conducted and contrarily in Government Schools the teachers do not take the classes. [4]

Amar Ujala Bureau (2014) A news published in Hindi Daily News Paper named Amar Ujala-My City, Charkhi Dadri “The sellers of adulterated milk are offering pure diseases” Mr. Om Singh, Inspector, Food and Supply Department accepted that adulteration in the milk is being done and in very few days 30 cases of adulteration in milk have been registered. [5]

Bhowon and Bhal (1999) A study of Mauritian managers” and suggest that managers in Mauritius have two set of values. One is congruent with traditional culture, which includes values as trust, loyalty and co-operation. The second set is congruent with Western culture, picked up from educational institutions and professionally managed workplaces. It includes values like efficiency, productivity, achievement, job satisfaction, change, equality etc. [6]

  1. Randy Boxx, Randall Y. Odom, Mark G. Dunn (1991) conducted a study examining the impact of organizational values and value similarities on satisfaction, commitment, and cohesion within the organizations working under not-for-profit settings. Information for the study was obtained from 387 executives of highway and transportation department. [7]

 

Research Methodology

Data Collection Method: – Data for the present study has been collected from both the sources i.e. Primary Sources and Secondary Sources.

Research Design: Design has been a medium level plan specifying the methods and techniques for collecting and analyzing the required information. In this study an observatory, descriptive, explanatory and explorative design has been followed which helped in unfolding the answers to the specific objectives.

Method of Data Collection: Information extracted about adherence of Professional Ethics and Moral Values during professional practices was through questionnaires, personal observations, interviews and regular consultation of the old records available.

Professional Areas surveyed: Healthcare, Education, Lawyers and Retail Sector located in Bhiwani City of Haryana State.

Sample size: There were 50 respondents from each profession were contacted and taken their responses total comes to 200 respondents.

Data Analysis: – The research design was a master plan specifying the statistical methods and procedures to find the conclusive results of collected data. Specific instruments like MS Excel package and some open source applications were used.

Data Analysis

Adherence of Ethical Practices at workplace

Sl. No. Description %age of respondents replied in ‘YES’ %age of respondents replied in ‘NO’ %age of respondents replied in

CANNOT REPLY’

%age of respondents replied in

CANNOT REPLY + NO’

1. Honesty in professional practice 46 24 30 56
2. Adherence of code of conduct / Ethics in profession 42 25 33 60
3. Information sharing with clients/ customers 50 30 20 50
4. Equality in behavior in professional dealing 40 33 27 62
5. Mutual Trust with clients/ customers 60 30 12 41

Statements related to data analysis

  1. Honesty in professional practices: More than 40% respondents have been found dealing honestly with the people in their professional practices. 20-25 percent respondents are found not honest and about 30 percent could neither say YES nor NO. The respondents who could not reply either in YES or NO have also been considered as dishonest in their professional dealing, hence the total percentage of dishonesty in professional dealing including “No + Cannot Reply” comes to more than 50 percent.
  2. Adherence of Code of Conduct/ Ethics: 40 percent of respondents have accepted that they follow their professional Ethics/ Code of Conduct, between 25 to 30 percent are found not abiding by the Ethics/ Code of Conduct of their profession, more that 30 percent could neither say YES nor NO, so they are also considered as non adherents and the total percentage of non adherents comes to 60 percent.
  3. Information sharing with clients/ customers: The 50 percent respondents have accepted that they do share the information with their customers/ clients, 30 percent do not share and 20 percent could neither accept nor deny, so they have also been considered as good as responded in NO and the total percentage comes to 50.

4-        Equality in behavior in professional dealing: 38 percent people behave equally in their professional dealing, 35 percent are found biased in behavior with customers/ clients, 27 percent professional have neither accepted nor denied about their biased behavior, hence they have been considered as biased and behaving discriminately with their clients and total strength of professionals who do not behave equally with people comes around 60 percent.

5-         Mutual Trust with clients/ customers: Approximately 60 percent professional feel that there is mutual trust between them and their clients/ customers, about 30 percent feel that there is no mutual trust and about 10 percent could neither say YES or NO but they are as good as NO, so the total strength of having no mutual trust are 40 percent.

 

Findings

  • Finding regarding percentage of adherence of Ethics and Moral Values:
  1. 40 to 44% of respondents responded that they are honest in their professional dealing and following Ethics and Moral Values of the profession.
  2. 26 % have clearly accepted that they do not follow the Ethics and Moral Values honestly and 30% have denied to reply which is also a silent acceptance of non-adherence.
  • Finding regarding reasons of non-adherence of Ethics and Moral Values:
  1. The decreased education of literature which teaches about Moral Values particularly after Secondary level the study of literature is stopped to the students precisely who choose Engineering or Medical professions, so they remain unknown about the knowledge and importance of Ethics and Moral Values in the life.
  2. Competition of owning more property and living luxurious life than any other companions/ relatives.
  3. The reason of loss of Ethics and Moral Values from the society is attraction of the people towards money.
  4. Importance is given more to earn money rather than social relationship by the people.
  5. Technological advancement has created alternatives of man and reduced the human importance, so the people do not care for the relations amongst human beings.
  • Finding regarding impact of non-adherence of Ethics and Moral Values:
  1. The major impact of non-adherence of Ethics and Moral Values is loss of mutual trust in the society.
  2. Weakening relationship and Brotherhood amongst the people living in the society.
  3. Sense of insecurity amongst the people.
  4. Reducing respect to each other.
  5. Increasing criminalization and litigation.
  6. Damage to social harmony.

Conclusion and suggestions

The technological advancement and competitive spirit has made the man greedy, selfish and self centered who has only objective of earning money by any mean either that is right or wrong. In such circumstances importance of money has increased and the importance of human relations and brotherhood has decreased. Further, the authors are suggesting following remedies to prevent further deterioration of moral values:-

  • The study of literature preferably in Hindi and Sanskrit must be made compulsory till graduation level.
  • Violation of professional code of conduct should be made punishable offense.
  • Government monitoring machinery should function regularly and effectively in order to prevent the violations of rules and policies established by the legislature or state governments.
  • Action should be taken against the wrong doers.

 

                                                                     Works Cited

  1. http://poems2remember.blogspot.in/2007/09/kabirs-couplets.html. Browsed as on April 02, 2015. 12:27 a.m. /Web/
  2. http://greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/sri_gurudeva-guru_stotram.php. Browsed as on April 02, 2015. 12:30 a.m. /Web/
  3. Choudhry Sudhir (2014) “Daily News Analysis on Zee News a National News Channel at 09:00 p.m. to 09:30 p.m. on 08-05-2014. /Video/
  4. Verma K.C. (2014) Amar Ujala Daily Hindi News Paper Amar Ujala-My City Bhiwani “No teaching in Government Schools, Looting in Private School” dated 07-05-2014 page No.II. /Print/
  5. Amar Ujala Bureau (2014) “The sellers of adulterated milk are offering pure diseases” Daily Hindi News Paper named Amar Ujala-My City, Charkhi Dadri dated 09-05-2014 page No.IV. /Print/
  6. Bhowon Uma & Bhal T.K (1999): Making Sense in Personal Values and Organizational Culture: A Study of Mauritian Managers, Management Review, Journal of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, Vol. XI, No. I & II, January-December, p.8. /Print/
  7. Randy Boxx W., Randall Y. Odom , Mark G. Dunn (1991) in Organizational values and value congruency and their impact on satisfaction, commitment, and cohesion: An empirical examination within the public sector Public Personnel Management, Vol 20(2), 1991, 195-205. /Print/

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