People often use values, morals and ethics interchangeably but all three of them have different connotations. As per my understanding the basic difference is in their dimension of scope. Values represent the individual standards depicting the areas that are foremost important for them. Therefore, values are majorly individualistic as it reflects beliefs held by the people themselves. However, morals have a wider sphere of influence. It depicts the right vs wrong accepted at societal level. It is a relative value which judges the correctness or incorrectness based on its influence on self and others. Further, ethics unlike values and morals are set of rules and principles codified to establish a set of guidelines which are formally adopted by the followers. In this case the followers are a group of people for instance Medical Profession has its own code of ethical conduct. This shows ethics are usually imposed by the society or a group and thus has an external source of generation. As a result, the ethical standards vary with the variation in contexts. Thus, values can be described as something which are most valuable to individuals while morals and ethics elucidate the appropriateness of actions taken by the individuals in the pursuit of things valued highly by them. For example, if an employer chooses to abuse his subordinates as a way to improve their working standards it is the employer’s relative value, however if another person feels that abusing is incorrect it shows he is moral while if goes ahead and take actions to stop the abuse then that person is ethical.
Further, as all three words share a strong interconnectedness it is necessary to understand the influence of each on the other two. Taking my personal example, during my job as an Environmental Engineer in a Coal Mining Company I was asked by my Officer in-charge to tweak the data to be presented to Ministry of Coal for scrutiny. This was a clear wrong vs wrong situation as manipulating data was against the ethical conduct of the company and was also in opposition to the prevailing moral standards and my personal value regarding honesty. However, in a situation when I was required to convince the Expert Appraisal Committee for the grant of Mine Expansion I faced the right vs right situation, as my values and moral standards supported saving the deteriorating environment while my job’s ethical conduct required me to get the clearance for the project. Therefore, in this situation of misalignment I chose to represent the case but also suggested innovative measures to safeguard the surroundings. Although there is no correct solution in situations where a person faces a conflict of right vs right between ethical conduct against morals and values the solution depends upon the individual itself. The person can choose personal values over work ethics or vice-versa depending upon the distinctive importance for any of the three.