Infectious disease outbreaks are frequently characterized by scientific uncertainty, social and institutional disruption, and an overall climate of fear and distrust. Policy makers and public health professionals may be forced to weigh and prioritize potentially competing ethical values in the face of severe time and resource constraints. This document seeks to assist policy-makers, health care providers, researchers, and others prepare for outbreak situations by anticipating and preparing for the critical ethical issues likely to arise.
Many philosophers believe that morality consists of following precisely defined rules of conduct, such as "don't kill," or "don't steal." Presumably, I must learn these rules, and then make sure each of my actions live up to the rules. Virtue ethics , however, places less emphasis on learning rules, and instead stresses the importance of developing good habits of character , such as benevolence (see moral character ). Once I've acquired benevolence, for example, I will then habitually act in a benevolent manner. Historically, virtue theory is one of the oldest normative traditions in Western philosophy, having its roots in ancient Greek civilization. Plato emphasized four virtues in particular, which were later called cardinal virtues : wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. Other important virtues are fortitude, generosity, self-respect, good temper, and sincerity. In addition to advocating good habits of character, virtue theorists hold that we should avoid acquiring bad character traits, or vices , such as cowardice, insensibility, injustice, and vanity. Virtue theory emphasizes moral education since virtuous character traits are developed in one's youth. Adults, therefore, are responsible for instilling virtues in the young.
There are different schools of thought that differ in their viewpoint on role of ethics or ethics in human resource development . One group of thought leaders believes that since in business, markets govern the organizational interests and these interests are met through people, the latter are therefore at the highest risk. They believe that markets claim profits in the name of stakeholders and unless we have protocols, standards and procedures the same will develop into a demon monopolizing markets and crushing human capital; HR ethics are become mandatory.