How Do Ethics Influence Value Systems?

The value systems of people or organizations are largely influenced by their cultural and environmental ethical predicates. That is, the ethical standards that people or groups impose on themselves have great influences on what they consider their values. These ethical principles dictate their perceptions, attitudes and action, which are reflected in their values. Thus, ethics are the values that people attribute to their systems of beliefs.

Value systems are fundamental beliefs, which guide the manner in which they behave, think and perceive things and events, explains Bilkent professor Mustafa Pultar. On the contrary, ethics refer to a person's actions and decisions. In many instances, people act and think in ways consistent with their value systems. In these behaviors, people attempt to act ethically, based on their value systems.

Whenever an individual acts in a way that contradicts the established values, such actions are considered unethical. Ethics is thus about the sense of right or wrong, as stipulated by an organization's values. Ethical standards are not set by individuals; rather, society defines the ethics that regulate the decisions and actions of its citizens. Consequently, the value systems, which are based on what is considered right and wrong, are also built communally. In situations where no single value system is predominant, the opinions, ethics and value systems vary.