Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

It refers to the ethics that a person identifies with in respect to people and situations that they deal with in everyday life. It largely involves relations with family and friends.

Ethics in Private Relationships

They are based on emotional bonds rather than any formal procedure that regulates them and therefore, they are informal in nature. Private relationships are often given or inherited. They are relatively permanent with more tolerance for imperfections.

Ramayana is a classic example of ethics in personal relationships. Although ethics in private life varies from person to person but there are some common underlying principles that are accepted by the society. For example –

Loyalty – loyalty to one’s partner and to the family members

Love – loving all the members of family with their imperfections

Affection – caring for needs of all the members as your own

Ethics in private relationship are generally directed by individual virtues, universal human values, religion, social norms and law of land. Ethics in private relationship are also checked by private religious law. Individual familial and community obligations have long been written into law and supported by serious sanctions from ancient time to today’s inheritance divorce, marriage and other laws. In India, along with moral codes, religious institutions and
constitutional provisions govern ethical issues in private relationship

Ethics in Public Relationships

It refers to the ethics that a person may adhere to in respect of their interactions and business dealings in their professional life. Public relationships are those that exist by the virtue of profession or the position one holds in professional life.

The core values in the public relations that guide behaviors and decision-making process and are vital to the integrity of any profession can be said to include as follows:

Advocacy – serving the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those one represents.

Honesty & selflessness – adhering to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the public interest and not personal interests

Expertise – acquiring and responsibly using specialized knowledge and experience and through continued professional development

Accountability & openness– for your actions taken in respect of your position in public service
• Loyalty & spirit of service – honouring the obligation to serve the public interest
• Fairness & Justice – uphold the essence of preamble by providing justice in all spheres

The Committee for Standards in Public Life (Nolan Committee) defined seven principles. These
are:

1. Selflessness: Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.

2. Integrity: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

3. Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

4. Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

5. Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands it.

6. Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

7. Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

OECD countries have also come out with a set of core values to guide public servants. These are
impartiality, legality, integrity, transparency, efficiency, equality, responsibility and justice.

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