Ethics vs. Morality

Difference Between ethics and morality

The difference between ethics and morality

Although ethics and morality have a lot in common there is a difference in the way they should be used. It is quite common for them to be used incorrectly. This article will highlight the main differences between the two words. Ethics is used to describe a code of behavior in society or among a specific group in society, such as teacher ethics or business ethics. Morality is more personal as it refers to the behavior of an individual. Ethics is a broad concept referring to a philosophy of proper behavior. Morality refers to how you apply that philosophy in your own life.

There are many different types of ethics – family ethics, social ethics, national ethics. It refers to a socially accepted way of behaving in certain circumstances. There are do’s and don’t’s for all occasions. For example, you really watch how you act and the things you say when you are in the presence of strangers but you are more relaxed when you are with friends and family.

Ethics are of great importance in professions, politics and business. This manner of behavior sets the code by which all who are involved in either one should act. These codes are rules of conduct by which one can and should behave to prevent occurrences of misconduct that could lead to job loss or even legal action. They are also beneficial in spreading feelings of good will, compassion, honesty and loyalty. Society rewards ethical behavior but punishes unethical behavior.

Morality is the way in which an individual behaves according to the codes of ethics. It is personal as people set standards of morality for themselves. It refers to a set of personal beliefs, called morals, that a person has about the proper way to behave and helps a person choose the right way to act in specific circumstances. Morals are a guiding force and a code according to which one lives.

When a person works or lives in a situation where the ethics are in direct contrast to his/her morals, then a problem arises. In a business, an employee may be torn between the need for a job and the need to act in a moral way if the ethics of the company are such that the employee finds that some of the practices are unethical. Some people consider homosexuality as being immoral, but among the members of this group it is considered moral and normal. Abortion was once considered wrong on moral and ethical bases, but is now legal. This means that society considers it to be ethical, but individuals may still consider it to be immoral.


  1. Ethics are codes of conduct that society sets down about how people should behave. Morality is a personal set of rules about behavior.
  2. Individuals have their own moral standards, which may or may not comply with ethical standards.