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Cultural Values and Personal Ethics Paper

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Cultural Values and Personal Ethics Paper

A value is a principle, a standard, or a quality considered worthwhile or desirable. Ethics is a system of moral values that govern a person’s conduct. Values and ethics, together, define a person. Just as individuals subscribe to values, so do organizations and businesses; an examination of any successful company would lead to the conclusion that their subscribing to a value system was the key to their success. Conversely, the examination of any unsuccessful company would lead to the conclusion that their disregard of a value system lead to their failure.

In this paper, I will classify three categories of values: (a) personal; (b) organizational; and (c) cultural. I will then discuss how these values influenced decisions in my personal and professional life. Personal values define who an individual is. They serve as guides in handling situations and interacting with others. Organizational values are the standards that guide an individual’s behavior in a professional context. They define how an individual accomplishes work, interacts in professional situations, and how he makes decisions relative to his job/career. Cultural values are standards that guide how a person relates meaningfully to others in different social situations. They guide an individual’s behavior based upon societal norms. Cultural connotation is one method of deriving personal values; it influences the choices an individual makes and therefore can impact, either positively or negatively, the decision making process.

Personal Values

Personal values can be derived from one’s culture, whether that culture is familial, social, or organizational. My own personal values are a combination of the three. Above all else, my personal values are: (a)Integrity; (b) Service Before Self; (c)Excellence in All I Do. Integrity implies adherence to an ethical code. Service implies work done for others. Excellence implies striving for a higher standard. Over the course of my adult life, I tried to find the “win-win” solution. I attempted to balance compromise and what I felt was right in both my personal and professional decisions. I am hopeful that my personal values will transfer easily into my new career as an auditor with the Air Force Audit Agency.

Organizational Values

Organizational values have to include concepts that facilitate the success of the organization, business, or unit (if military). In a military organization, readiness is one of the measures of success. The organization promotes honor, dedication and initiative among its members to achieve its ongoing readiness. Career enhancement requires a member’s success in their current position, which usually includes meeting readiness goals. One must look at the moral and ethical position an organization takes and what roles its leadership models in creating cultural values.

Cultural Values

In their article, “Recognizing cultural differences: key to successful U.S-Russian enterprises” Tongren, Hecht and Kovach (1995) aptly state that every culture has a set of core values which “reflect how its members feel, act and. . .what is proper or improper to do and to believe.” Cultural values become a society’s morality, and are developed through an “enculturation process”. It is taught in familial and societal settings. In American culture, great emphasis is placed on values that are very similar to organizational values as described above. As with organizational

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