In the opinion of many people, ethics or morals refer to the rules that distinguish between things considered right and those viewed as wrong. An example of these rules is the Golden Rule, which advocates for one to do to others what they would wish to be done to them. Ethical conduct is necessary for all professions, and Family and Consumer Science is no exception. The moral environment is thus a critical consideration for members of all professions in this area of study. This essay looks at the ethical environment in family and consumer services and considers how an emerging professional can apply their skills and personal strengths in influencing a change in this critical area.
Most individuals acquire their knowledge of ethical norms in schools, churches, or other social settings. However, while this sense of right and wrong is gained in a person’s childhood, the development of morals continues throughout their life. Whereas ethical norms may appear so obvious that they seem to be a matter of common sense, disputes about these issues still arise. The reason these conflicts exist is that people recognize the universal norms but interpret and apply them in different ways. The interpretation is dependent on individual values as well as personal experiences.
Professionals in the Family and Consumer Sciences sector are confronted by a variety of ethical issues on a day-to-day basis. One of these ethical concerns relates to integrity, where the professionals face the problem of acting and thinking in ways that demonstrate integrity as well as honesty (AAFCS, n.d). Some issues related to this concern include making sound decisions and avoiding misleading communication and inaccurate information.
Another element of the ethical environment is that of professional competence. Concerning this, the moral concern is that of professionals claiming expertise for areas where they do not have relevant education, experience, or even training (AAFCS, n.d). Another issue that arises here is that of practicing outside the law and within the boundaries of their training. Another aspect of the ethical environment is that of respect for diversity, where professionals face the problem of respecting individual, family, and community cultural beliefs.
In addressing the concerns that arise from the ethical environment, there are certain personal strengths that come in handy. These individual strengths stem from my personality, which is that of a Guardian. Guardians are considered the building blocks of society, given their penchant for service to others and preservation of social institutions (Keirsey, n.d). As a Guardian, I believe in the observance of law and order, and in being guided by a fundamental sense of good and evil.
One personal strength that I possess as a Guardian is that of working well as part of a team (Keirsey, n.d). Bringing about a change in Family and Consumer Science is not an individual effort, and it necessitates teamwork. A variety of bodies must work together so that they develop a sustainable ethical framework. These parties include the professionals in the sector, who must agree to abide by the professional ethics and the government as the licensing authority for professionals. The public also has a critical role to play in that they should show a willingness to report breaches of the ethical codes. My team-playing strengths will thus come in handy in ensuring that these parties work properly together.
Another strength that I possess is my down-to-earth attitude (Keirsey, n.d). As a humble person, I strive to work well with all while following due process. This is a critical part of creating a right ethical environment, and it will ensure cooperation between the various entities.
The American Association of Family and Consumer Science is a membership organization for professionals in this field. The AAFCS aims to connect the practitioners in this sector to share experiences, knowledge, and research (AAFCS, n.d). The organization strives to ensure that its members develop both professionally and personally. As such, ethical considerations are paramount to the organization as demonstrated by the presence of a code of ethics guiding the conduct of members. The organization emphasizes on individual and collective acts that can bring about the ethical behavior of its members.
In advocating for a change in the ethical environment of Family and Consumer Science, one primary factor is to obtain relevant information on the issues and their impact (Lobberecht, n.d). For instance on the issue of integrity, if false information about personal finance is provided to clients they may make wrong choices hence compromising their well-being. The ultimate aim of the advocacy is to develop an ethical framework to guide professionals in the industry.
Another measure is to introduce continuous education on ethical concerns and best practices to the professionals. Since the moral environment is a very dynamic one with new ethical issues cropping up regularly, this is a critical concern. Educating professionals about emerging ethical issues will ensure that they do not violate them out of ignorance. The best practices education will provide professionals with a reference point for any dilemmas that may confront them.
In conclusion, it is evident that the ethical framework is of critical importance in Family and Consumer Science. The range of ethical issues that affects professionals in this area poses a significant challenge. However, these issues may be addressed by working together, and the application of my personal strengths can help to achieve this.
AAFCS. (n.d.). AAFCS Code of Ethics. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from American Association of Family and Consumer Science: http://www.aafcs.org/AboutUs/CodeEthics.asp
Keirsey, D. (n.d.). Portrait of the Guardian. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from Keirsey.com: http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/guardian_overview.asp
Lobberecht, M. S. (n.d.). Texas Advocacy Playbook. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from Texas CFR: http://tx.ncfr.org/TCFR%20Assets/Lobberecht%20_Texas_Advocacy_Playbook2011.pdf