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Day 17 – Q 5. How does time and space affect ethics in private and public relationships? Illustrate.

5. How does time and space affect ethics in private and public relationships? Illustrate.

समय और स्थान निजी और सार्वजनिक संबंधों में नैतिकता को कैसे प्रभावित करते हैं? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।


“The field of ethics, also called moral philosophy, involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior”. Definitions of ethics normally have in common the elements of requiring some form of systematic analysis, distinguishing right from wrong, and determining the nature of what should be valued. In the public relations discipline, ethics includes values such as honesty, openness, loyalty, fair-mindedness, respect, integrity, and forthright communication.


  • Each private and personal relationship has its own irreplaceable value. The governing factors for ethics in private relationships include individual virtues, universal human values, religion, social norms and law. Even with imperfections and problems they’re relatively permanent.
  • On the other hand, Public relationships are governed by many aspects. They may or may not be inherited. One begins public relations to get respect, attention, power, authority and materialistic benefits.
  • In private and public relationships trust is an important factor for instance trust on family members, public trust on the government machinery etc. So transparency, emotional intelligence are the factors which strengthen the relationships.
  • At times, Public servants play conflicting role due to conflict in private life and public life. The private relationships demand individual’s responsibilities towards the role played in private life such as father, mother, husband, etc. These are self-imposed and voluntary and are backed by sanctions of one’s obligations towards self, family and society since ancient times. For example, in our country, the Dharmashshtras provide moral codes to regulate the private relations.
  • However, in public relationships, the public servant needs to cope with several roles altogether. This includes – role in private life, role in personal and family sphere, role as a professional, role for job, role towards his/her area of jurisdiction, role towards seniors and society and humanity at large.
  • When one is confused between ethical issues in private and public relationships, the personal conflict of interest is bound to arise. A public servant must also endeavor to avoid conflict of interest by avoiding situations where he/she either benefits personally.
  • If there is inconsistency in the public life and private life of a person, it leads to disastrous outcomes. Example Kesab Chandra Sen opposed child marriage but married his own underage daughter to Maharaja of Cooch Bihar. Consequently, his followers abandoned him and founded Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (1878).
  • The public service role also invokes legal and constitutional obligations, which when violated invite legal sanctions and penalties. Thus, a public servant needs to cope with these different roles which many a times conflict with each other.
  • Most common challenges faced by officers in public life revolve around aspects such as: Discretion, Nepotism-will lead to the downgrading of the quality of the public service and Public accountability.

In the modern society there is more importance given to material means like money but the way it is achieved is not considered. The challenge in public life is to do the right thing through the right set of values and right path.


Most codes of ethics provide no enforcement monitoring or recourse for their infringement, leaving them impotent other than the occasional revocation of association membership. These problems with codes of ethics are not new and they are not limited to the field of public relations This debate mirrors the rationale of Plato, as quoted in Parsons (2004): “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”.

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