Understanding yourself and being self-aware are truly important in making ethical decisions. It is also important to understand your own values and to know why those are your values. There will be challenges throughout everyone’s career and it is a very important skill to know how to deal with these challenges, big or small. Knowing what skills that you possess is key to being able to overcome ethical challenges. When it comes down to it though, all ethical decision-making is from an individual’s values.
When it comes down to the end of my career, I want to have done something in my career that makes my family proud. My family is a proud group that wear their hearts on their sleeve. They have done nothing but support me throughout my life and I would love nothing more than to make them proud when my career comes to an end. As far as other goals, my dream has always been to be in marketing and promotions for a Division I collegiate athletic program so that would surely be one of my goals for my career. These two goals would bring me great happiness and would mean to me that I had a successful career. Landing a dream job and making my family proud have always been on my mind and I will do whatever I can to make those things happen.
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My three key values that I would like to be known for over the course of my career are concern for others, interdependence, and health and activity. These are the right values for myself because I’ve been told by many friends and family that I am a very selfless person and I often put friends and family in front of myself. I am interdependent because when people have expectations for me, I will do anything in my power to meet those expectations. Finally, health and activity is one of my key values because I have always valued the importance of health and activity my whole life. I believe one of the keys to happiness in life is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay physically active. These are the three values that I hold the highest importance on and I will continue to maintain these values as I progress throughout my career.
There are many perspectives to ethical decision-making, but the two I prefer are utilitarianism and Confucianism. I like the perspective of utilitarianism because the whole premise of the idea is to do the greatest good for the greatest number (Johnson, p. 8). This lines up directly with my value of concern for others as I always am looking out for others so if there is an option to help the most amount of people possible in an ethical situation, then I am going to take that option. Although utilitarianism has its disadvantages, I still think that the positives far outweigh the negatives when thinking about my own values. I believe Confucianism is another important perspective based on my own values is because it is all revolves around relationships (Johnson, p. 17).
Ideals that Confucianism values such as respecting your elders are values that I have, and relationships are everything to me. Valuing family and friends is also very important to me as I am very close with both groups and are a very large part of my life. The golden rule of Confucianism is “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” is also a rule that I recognize and follow (Johnson, p. 17). I believe that it is very important to maintain relationships with everyone, even people you may not think you like at the time. You never know what an individual is going through, and you also never know when you may need someone more than you ever realized down the line. Although all the ethical-decision making standards have positives and negatives, utilitarianism and Confucianism are the two standards that stand out to me as having the positives outweigh the negatives the most.
Throughout one’s career there will be many ethical challenges no matter what type of career the individual chooses. I am a sport management major so in my field, two challenges I can expect are the recent diversification of the sport management field as well as the recent “pay for play” push brought forth by student athletes that is a very current ethical challenge that could have an impact in my career (Higley, p. 1). These two challenges are a big deal right now in my industry because Title IX is becoming a huge deal with public colleges now needing to have gender-equitable teams as well as equal pay for coaches which is a huge ethical issue (Higley, p.1).
This is an ethical issue because there were no requirements as far as teams being gender-equitable and getting similar funding until very recently. The challenge is not if this is the right thing, but only because the biggest revenue generators for collegiate athletics are men’s sports and has been talked about all over the sport management industry. As for “pay for play” in collegiate sports, student athletes have been very adamant that they want to be paid in return for colleges essentially generating revenue from their likeness. This is mainly being talked about with Division I football and Division I basketball as these are the largest revenue generators. This is obviously a huge challenge right now because this is a very new idea that had never really been thought about or contested until very recently from student athletes and has now brought the basic idea of what a student athlete is into question. Although I prefer these standards for ethical decision-making, this may still leave me prone to some weaknesses when making decisions.
One such weakness is that if I rely too heavily on relationships, then I may develop a bias towards someone that I have a relationship with rather than doing what I would normally consider ethically right, this is one of the few weaknesses of Confucianism. The other weakness that I may encounter when making ethical decisions is that sometimes it is very hard to determine what “the greatest good” means when analyzing an ethical challenge from a utilitarian perspective. This is a weakness of the utilitarian perspective that could make very important decisions much harder when going through the process of an ethical decision. Although I have some weaknesses that I need to work through, I also think I possess some skills that could help me get through an ethical decision.
One such strength is that I want what is best for others and a common good amongst society. I think this makes me less vulnerable to making a poor ethical decision and in the end an outcome that will hopefully improve human welfare, a goal of utilitarianism. Another strength that I believe is a skill that will help me confront ethical situations is that I understand how to treat others with respect and being able to put the needs of others in front of my own. This is a skill that I can thank my family for acquiring as I have many other selfless individuals that are close to me that helped show me the importance of having such a skill. This skill will allow me to put myself in the shoes of people in the situation rather than me looking out for my own personal interest. I think this is a very important skill to have when making ethical decisions so that your own biases to not come into play. Although I have come a long way in developing a thought of what I believe to be ethical and learning what my true values are, I think I can still take some more steps to develop my capacity in taking ethical action.
I think the first step I can take is to, at very least, control my weaknesses so that they do not become apparent when I am trying to make an ethical decision. Sometimes I rely too much on relationships and I think I need to do that less often and I know I can learn to take my bias out of a situation while still understanding the importance of relationships. I also think that as I gain more experience in ethics, I will start to understand often of what “the greatest good” truly is in many situations. Finally, often the best way to gain capacity within ethics is to keep gaining experiences with ethical challenge. I believe the very best way to gain capacity within ethics is to gain knowledge and experience as life goes on.
In conclusion, individuals will encounter many challenges as a career goes on, the ethical decision-making process starts with what your values are. Once you understand your values, it is easy to determine what ethical perspectives and standards that relate to your values the most and that will be the basis at which an individual makes many of their ethical decisions. It is also very important for individuals to take a step back and reflect on what potential strengths and weaknesses he/she may have. Self-reflection is a very important skill in of itself because it allows you to improve in the future. Ethical action is best taken and followed through on when an individual understands their values and perspectives.
Higley, S. (2017, September 26). Ethical Issues in Sports Management. Retrieved October 5, 2018, from https://bizfluent.com/info-8465775-ethical-issues-sports-management.html
Johnson, C. E. (2019). Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach(4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
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