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Personal ethics

As with beliefs and values, personal ethics can differ widely from person to person.

As mentioned already, beliefs and values often motivate a person by defining what they see as being important. In turn, they influence a person’s attitudes, and how they behave.


Ethical expectations constrain a person’s behaviour by providing expectations on how to behave. In other words, personal ethics are standards by which a person judges behaviour as being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

Ethical expectations often take the form of principles such as:

  • concern for the well-being of others
  • respect for others
  • trustworthiness and honesty
  • compliance with the law
  • preventing harm to others.