In many fields, there are ethical guidelines in place to protect people. However, sometimes these guidelines are compromised for the benefit of society or individual gain. The guidelines usually emphasized in ethics are respect for free will, the benefit and justice.

Respect for Free Will

This ethical guideline refers to respecting the fact that each person has free will to follow his own path and make decisions based on what he feels is best for himself. This may need to be compromised if the person is a threat to himself or the common good.

The Benefit

This ethical guideline means that the benefit of something is higher than the possible harm it may have on a person or society. For example, some medications may have severe side effects for some, but the ethical guidelines may be compromised because of the possible benefits to the majority.


This ethical guideline values equality and suggests that the intention must be to benefit all of society, not just one group. This can be compromised when products are marketed to a particular population because of price.

Definition of Compromise of Ethics

Ethics are compromised when a country, company or individual feels it is in the best interest of society as a whole to break ethical guidelines.

Ethical Accountability

Most industries and organizations have set up steps to determine whether ethical compromises should occur. These are needed because everyone has belief systems and biases that may influence the decision-making process.