My ethical self-awareness or my sense of being who I am now reflects the principles I have adopted as my guiding values in everyday life. I scored very high on fairness and less on harm and purity in my Moral Foundations Questionnaire. Besides, I scored somewhat higher on Individualism than on Collectivism in the Individualism vs. Collectivism questionnaire. These scores in both questionnaires reflect the essence of my personality: even though I am of Asian origin, I share the individualistic values of the Western world; even though I respect authority, I have enough internal freedom to have opted for fairness along with harm and purity. This choice reflects my own ethical standing where my values are the guiding principles of interaction with the rest of the world which help me retain integrity. In a personal narrative of decisions when I decided to voice my values and act upon them, I will demonstrate how I have applied my principles throughout practice within professional life.
To begin with, I would like to comment on some ethical principles and values that guide me within a professional setting. Even though I represent the ethnicity where collective bonds and belonging to this ethnical group are a matter of pride, I wanted to stay aloof from this ethnicity-focused attitude to the people once I assumed a leadership position. Once I started to act as a leader of volunteers in a local community center, I finally revised my ethnocentric views, which guided my perception of others from the perspective of my cultural group and made me base my judgments on the values of my culture. From ethnocentrism, my views developed into the cross-cultural ethical competence and I made every effort to act as a world citizen. This re-assessment of my values was prompted by an absolutely diverse group of strangers we had to teach computer skills at the community center, where each person was unique in terms of nationality and culture, and pursuing dialogue seemed the adequate solution. As I started to act as a world citizen, I was able to abandon the paternalistic style of working with other, immigrant cultures and discover the strengths of the representatives of different cultures. For example, when I had to work with two other volunteers who recently came from Africa and had only limited knowledge of English I tried to learn new words in the language they both were fluent, i.e. used cultural humility and solidarity to show my respect and willingness to cooperate. Also, I learnt to question my biases based on ethnic and religious origin and display trust towards people of another religion. This helped me get closer to many visitors in the community center and get excellent results in several projects.
Throughout my student life, I have also constantly faced challenges related to ethics and I have often voiced my position regarding the situations. In a study project that a group of students prepared for one class, one young lady with a disability took place. She had a difficulty talking but was very gifted in other spheres. When the group were deciding on who to choose as the project speaker, they neglected her. Apparently, the groupmates were more concerned about the outcome of the project and grades whereas they displayed unethical conduct. I addressed the group in the middle of the argument and suggested that Lisa be included into the lottery of speakers as well. As a result, the girl won the lottery and became the group speaker. The thing that we chose a person with the disability to speak for us was met warmly by the instructor who appreciated our collaboration with one another. In another case, I refused from listening to a black humor joke about African Americans from the authority figure as I said with respect that I cannot listen to the joke and asked if I could go out. Plus, I have used a similar approach to at described by Baxter with regard to a sexual harassment issue. I faced the situation when an elderly embassy worker told me he was able to help with the visa if I agreed to have an affair with him. I was so embarrassed that I did not respond outright but said something vague. Soon, I cooperated with another person who helped me do everything without any pressure.
Overall, I have extensively worked on developing my ethical self-awareness and improving my ability to sustain a cross-ethnical dialogue. In many cases, I have voiced my concern about a controversial issue in a deferential yet firm manner, and this has helped me remain a human with a powerful ethical voice.
- Choi, S. B., Ebrahim Ullah, S. M., & Kwak, W. J. (2015). Ethical leadership and followers’ attitudes toward corporate social responsibility: The role of perceived ethical work climate. Social Behavior and Personality, 43(3), 353-366.
- Gentile, M. C. (2010). Giving Voice to Values: How to speak your mind when you know what is right. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
- Johnson, C. E. (2012). Organizational ethics: A practical approach. Thousand Oaks, Calif: