Ethical considerations are those that pertain to moral values and decision-making at the individual or societal levels. They can affect a large number of different types of communities, ranging from those involved in health care, government, business, religion and even social media. Ethical considerations can thus involve activities as diverse as information disclosure, research practices, ecological awareness and better business.
Ethical questions of any nature are largely philosophical; hence, they can differ depending on the person holding them. However, general terms cast ethics as the philosophically driven effort to find the best way of living, not only to create personal happiness but to limit the discomfort or harm done others. Thus ethical considerations influence many decisions, including information delivery.
For example, the Australian Law Reform Commission suggests that improperly or inconsiderately releasing genetic information regarding disease can be profoundly damaging. Therefore, the autonomy of the person involved, along with their need and wish to know their genetic susceptibilities, must be ethically considered by health professionals. In cases of primary academic research, Purdue University emphasizes gaining the consent of test subjects as a paramount ethical consideration, particularly if law and practice determine it necessary. Additionally, researchers are often directed to limit their subjective responses to enhance opportunities for impartiality.
In business, ethical considerations apply to a broad list of virtues that companies, their managers and employees customarily seek to adopt. These include, but are not limited to, the encouragement of honesty, integrity and efficiency, as well as diversity and communication skills.
One of the most common sources of ethical considerations is religion. In these cases, religious doctrine imparts a sense of applied ethics, where one considers what right conduct is, how to live a life pleasing to the Divine and how one should treat himself and others in accordance with those teachings. Again, as ethical considerations is a broad philosophical concept, it can apply to any situation where the person ponders the nature of right and wrong, how to recognize the difference and the meaning those conclusions carry for everyday life.