It is interesting in the end. First I realize that as I blog I use the phrase in the end a lot. It was pointed out to me. As I lay out the various components of a code of ethics it is important to denote the distinctions. So today we will talk a little about the difference between the types of ethics we have, the reality of ethics as standards and standards as ethics and finally a discussion of the gaps between personal, professional and social standards. (there are also legal standards that should reinforce one of the three as well). Reality is that as IT Architecture matures we will codify our ethics as professional standards.
Each of us operates with both a personal and a professional code. We add or layer additional social and legal codes on top of that. It is not a simple process to merge the four. The first thing is what we are building, there is the broad concept of IT Architects Standards. The way IT Architects act and operate within the IT environment.
The four parts that comprise a set of standards are detailed in the graphic. Best practices become guidance. Guidance become working standards and finally you have program or professional standards. This is not linear growth. Many things stop as best practices and never progress. Some things age out of program standards and never return. All of these are the balancing act that create professional standards.
Some of the code of ethics I have been working on really fit in the Best Practices area. They fit in that area between personal and professional ethics and standards. I act this way. IT Architects act this way. I am an IT architect therefore I act this way. Simple.
Reality though is that there can be gaps between personal standards and professional standards. You always hope that the persons personal standards are much higher. We don’t aspire to be seen as IT Architects we aspire to seen as human beings that are IT Architects. So how do you fill the gap?
That is a topic for a later blog – making standards (and ethics) actionable. For now we are discussing the gap. The easy gap to plug is the delta between personal and social standards and ethics. Yes we all prefer honesty. In all forms at all times but when someone doesn’t look good, we don’t tell them “oh my god you look awful.” Even though our personal standards focus on honesty, our social standards may include a few small moments of dishonesty.
Birding the gap between standards and ethics