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Professional Code of Ethics


A professional code of ethics helps in maintaining order in many professional organizations. In many instances, organizations that do not have a code of ethics implemented are filled with much chaos leading to low professionalism. On the other hand, professionals who use code of ethics, portray a lot of professionalism to the other people and professions. However, there is an argument as to whether the code of ethics is good or bad. Additionally, people are arguing whether there is a professional who is qualified enough to write the rules. For this reason, it is worth defining the advantages and disadvantages of the code of ethics to establish the good of the code of ethics.


According to John Ladd argument, it is worth understanding the professional code of ethics for easier evaluation of its purpose. For this reason, Ladd argues that some people think the professional code of ethics is like a rule of law where it is set by somebody and others are expected to follow. Ladd says, “Ethical principles can be established only as a result of deliberation and argumentation” (Ladd, 1985). This means that a code of ethics cannot be created by somebody but by deliberations and understanding between the different parties. It needs people to sit down and agree what they are expected to follow and what they are not supposed to follow.

The second argument Ladd has placed is that a code of ethics does not require education background for a person to create or follow. This means a person cannot study professional code of ethics in school as a professional course to create a code of ethics. This is because there are issues that people needs to sit down and discuss. Code of ethics involves personal and professional issues applicable to all people either professional or ordinary. Using Ladd own words “The reason for this is that there are no experts in ethics in the sense of expert in which professionals have a special expertise that others do not share” (Ladd, 1985). With this in mind, there are no professional qualifications required to for one to become a professional ethics maker or creator.

Ladd has also argued that there is nobody who is immune to the code of ethics. In most case, people believe studying hard and attaining a professional qualification is a right of passage to commit unethical behavior. Ladd argues that professionals are not exempt to the code of ethics because they are not special when it comes to ethics. Other people often feel that professionals like doctors and lawyers have to abuse other people because they are qualified or they have achieved qualifications (Ladd, 1985). This is not true because ordinary people and professionals have the same code of ethics and they should follow them to the letter.

The final argument by Ladd is that there are macro-ethical problems and micro-ethical problems (Ladd, 1985). The macro-ethical problems are those pertaining to the professional and third parties. For instance, lawyers have ethical obligations to the clients they are representing. This shows that lawyers have a macro relationship with their clients. In simple terms, macro-ethical problems are not personal but they involve other people. On the other hand, micro-ethical problems are those issues that affect the personal life of a person. For example, a professional is supposed to be honest. This means that in performance of his or her duty, a professional is supposed to be honest at all times. Honesty is a characteristic that is within a person. therefore, it is personal.

Based on the above arguments, Ladd arguments have merit. For example, a code of ethics does not require a person to go, in class, to study. This is because they are deliberations made on what is right and what is wrong by the parties involved. Second, there is nobody who is exempt of the code of ethics due to their professionalism. Finally, the code of ethics is not set by one person. This is because there are not laws or a constitution that should be followed to the letter since it will lead to suppression (Ladd, 1985). Therefore, Ladd arguments have merit or weight in relations to the code of ethics.

After learning the arguments of the professional code of ethics laid down by Ladd, it is easier to learn the disadvantages and advantages of code of ethics. One of the disadvantages argued by the code of ethics is that people tend to perform lower than their expectation in the name of code of ethics (Ladd, 1985). For example, a professional may under perform in the process of doing his duties, since the code of ethics provides that he or she is not supposed to do so. In reality, that person could have performed his or her duty more than what he or she did. In this case, the code of ethics is disadvantageous.

Second, the code of ethics is used to suppress those who are trying to object. In most cases, companies tend to use a code of ethics to make those people who are objecting certain policies keep quiet. This is not right because their rights are being suppressed. They cannot be able to ask what is rightfully theirs. As a result, they are helpless due to the code of ethics. On the other hand, a code of ethics is also used as a means of duress. This is where people are coerced to perform what they are not supposed to do using the code of ethics, yet they are not supposed to question.

The final disadvantage is diversion of attentions to the micro-ethical problems from the macro-ethical problems of the problem. In most case, people tend to accuse other personally rather than professionally. For instance, in ethics, whistle-blowers are extremely common. They play the role of enhancing code of ethics. What they forget is that in the performance of their duties a person follows codes of ethics relating to a certain profession. This means that a person is bound by this code of ethics. Therefore, he or she is not expected to deviate from these duties (Ladd, 1985). For this reason, when a whistle-blower is enhancing the codes of ethics, he or she diverts attention to the person rather than the profession, which is wrong.

On the other hand, there are advantages of code of ethics that answer questions of how the codes of ethics are good. A code of ethics is meant to be inspirational. People are motivated by a code of ethics placed in the office. For instance, if the code of ethics states that people should be honorable, it is motivating. This shows that people who are in this profession have honor. This is highly motivating to people who are in this profession. In this situation, they will tend to perform more than their expectation. Therefore, the code of ethics can be said they are good.

Second, people are reminded by the code of ethics moral obligations of their work. In some instance, a professional may tend to forget moral values expected in the line of duty. For instance, a doctor is always reminded by the code of conduct that his or her main objective in performing his or her duties is to save lives despite the consequences. Lawyers are always reminded to use facts of the case to represent their clients as stipulated by the code of conduct (Callahan, 2002). Therefore, the codes of ethics are good for reminding people their moral values in the performance of their duties.

Third, a code of ethics is good for enforcing certain rules and regulations. In the protection of most professionals and its members, a code of ethics is put in places. For instance, doctors are usually met, with a lot of hard decision, to make regarding the life of a person. In this case, a patient might be diagnosed with a certain ailment. In the process, diagnosis provided by the doctor might be wrong. In such a situation, the doctor may have followed what he or she knows to offer such a diagnosis. Therefore, if the patient decides to sue the doctor, the doctor can use the code of ethics to protect him or herself. On the other hand, if the doctor did not follow the correct procedure, the code of ethics can be used to discipline the doctor. For this reason, the code of ethics is used to protect professionals and discipline professionals who violate it.

Fourth, a code of ethics is good for offering advice to both professionals and the third parties. In the case of professionals, they are able to know what they are supposed to do when a colleague violates the profession. Similarly, the code of ethics offers third parties advice in case they see a person in a certain profession behave unethically. For instance, if a person fails to perform his or her obligations to third parties, third parties can use the code of ethics to come with a decision.

Four, a code of ethics is good for creating an image for a profession. Many public relations departments use the code of ethics as a means to enhance their image in the public eyes (Callahan, 2002). In many professions, the clients are always put first while the profession is second. In this case, the public relations put this in the code of ethics to promote the image of the company to the customers. In such a situation, the integrity of the company rises in the eyes of the public demonstrating that the company is trustworthy. This results to people respecting the company and the professionals. For this fact, the code of ethics is good for enhancing the public image of the company or profession.


Based on the above analysis, the code of ethics is extremely essential in all fields despite the disadvantages they might pose. For instance, the code of ethics offers disciplinary measures to be taken if a person tends to violate them. This help in maintaining professionalism and order. Second, the code of ethics is good for offering advice to professionals where they need. The code if ethics is also good for protecting professionals in case of a dilemma. Finally, the code of ethics is good for improving image of the profession.

Works Cited

Callahan, D. (2002). Ethics and public health: Forging a strong relationship. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 2.)

Ladd, John. The Quest for A Code of Professional Ethics: An Intellectual and Moral Confusion. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishers, 1985. Print.

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