Standards of behaviour or ‘codes of conduct’ that individuals within a particular society, or within a particular profession are expected to follow. They guide decision making and govern our behaviour towards others, even those we don’t know. They are generally based on individual’s morals ie beliefs about what is right, good, fair and just, and what is wrong, bad, unfair and unjust, which are, in turn, influenced by the beliefs held within society and laws upheld within the country in which the individual lives. These standards of behaviour (and beliefs upon which they are based) should be reasonable and well-founded. They concern rights such as the right to life, to freedom from injury, and to privacy, and virtues such as honesty, fairness and humaneness (ie kindness, gentleness, compassion – caring and consideration towards the needs of others). Few would argue that it is morally right for each and every one of us to: demonstrate awareness and consideration towards the interests / needs of others likely to be affected by our activities; be fair ie be reasonable, even-handed and non-discriminatory; act with honesty and integrity ie not to lie, mislead, cheat or falsify information; be courteous – polite, well-mannered, considerate and respectful. These are reasonable and well-founded standards of behaviour considered to be morally correct and which are often used in making ethical judgements of the rightness or wrongness in human conduct. They impose reasonable obligations, for example, to refrain from assault, fraud, murder, slander and stealing. Both ethics and morals prescribe what is or is not considered appropriate behaviour, but the two terms should not be regarded as synonymous. For example, a person may do something regarded as unethical (meaning they have broken a specific code of conduct), but who may not, as a result of this action, necessarily be regarded as immoral (ie considered to be a bad person). The term ‘ethics’ should also not be confused with ‘principles’ and ‘values’. Values describe what is important in a particular person’s life eg financial security. They influence what we determine as ethical and are important in influencing people’s decisions and behaviour. Principles may be defined as a truth or law generally accepted by, and established firmly in the minds of, people in the society in which they live. They are important in influencing people’s values, morals and ethics and, as a result, their behaviour. It has also been said that values motivate, whilst morals and ethics constrain. See business ethics.