Policy considerations to achieve practical ethics: closing the gap between ethical theory and practice
Social and professional behaviors are driven by extrinsic as well as intrinsic factors including executive rules and regulations enacted by extrinsic agents through coercion, police force and penalties. Despite their effectiveness, these mechanisms undermine the fact that ethics is an intrinsic human quality. The present study seeks strategies to apply extrinsic coercion as an incentive to direct ethics as an intrinsic value.
Ethical behaviors driven by intrinsic motivations are more permanent and less costly. Legal force can either strengthen or weaken intrinsic requirements. Extrinsic conditions such as considering the interests, attitudes and preferences of others, involving people in the regulation and execution of law, justification of law, avoiding excessive punishment or rewards, and indirect support of ethics by establishing the appropriate social context can help boost intrinsic requirements in individuals.
Ethics will not be practically established unless we harness individuals’ ‘willingness to act’ as an essential determinant for ethical behavior. This requires adoption of a more psychological approach to ethics. If this aspect of ethical behavior is considered in regulations and executive processes, extrinsic forces can strengthen intrinsic requirements and spread ethics.
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