Difference Between Ethics and Values


Main Difference

The main difference between ethics and values is that ethics is a structure of moral principles. In contrast to values, which is the incentives of our thinking.

Ethics vs. Values

Ethics refers to the instructions for conduct, that address question about morality. Value defined as the principles and ideals, which helps them in making the judgment of what is more important. Ethics is an arrangement of ethical code. Opposite to values, which is the excitation of our thinking. Ethics serve as guidelines that determine the morality of one’s actions values; on the other hand, values are essentially the ideals and principles an individual upholds that form the basis of what is of greater importance. Ethics compel an individual to follow a prescribed course of action whereas values act as a motivator as they can strongly affect a person’s emotional state. Ethics are usually consistent and almost universal whereas values are usually relative from one person to another; that is what one holds as important may not be as important to another. Ethics is more of an ethical compass which helps an entity decide what is morally acceptable or not. Values help individuals determine what they want in life and how to get it.


Comparison Chart

Ethics relates to the directives for conduct, that approach question about morality.Value defined as the morals and ideas that helps them in making an opinion of what is more important.
The system of moral principles.Stimuli for thinking.
The extent of rightness or wrongness of our options.Level of importance.
What is ethically correct or incorrect, in the given situation.What we want to do or attain.
UniformDiffers from person to person
What does it do?

What is Ethics?

Ethics is the basic ideas and essential principles of respectable human conduct. It includes the study of comprehensive values such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural justice, obedience to the law of the land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment. At its simplest, ethics is an order of upright principles. They influence how people make decisions and lead their lives. Necessarily ethics is a concern about something or someone other than ourselves and our desires and self-interest. So when a person ‘thinks ethically’ they are giving for at least some thought to something beyond themselves. In general terms, ethics is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address issues related to concepts of right and wrong. It sometimes referred to as moral philosophy. Ethics regarding what is good for individuals and society and also described as moral philosophy. Ethics covers the following dilemmas:

  • How to live a good life
  • Our rights and responsibilities
  • The language of right and wrong
  • Moral judgments – what is good and bad?


  • Meta-Ethics: Ethical philosophy that studies the meaning and scope of moral values.
  • Descriptive Ethics: The section of ethics that relates to psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.
  • Normative Ethics: The study of the moral way of action through practical means.
  • Applied Ethics: This branch informs us how we can achieve moral issues, in a particular circumstance.

What are Values?

Values are a person’s or society’s beliefs about good behavior and what things are important. Values are the Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of society about what is good or bad and pleasing or undesirable. Values have a major effect on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business values are fairness, innovation and community involvement. Values are the principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. The value of something such as quality, attitude, or approach is its importance or usefulness. If you place a special value on something, that is the importance or usefulness you think it has. Values defined as extensive preferences concerning proper courses of actions or outcomes. As such, values consider a person’s sense of right and wrong or what needs to be. Values tend to control attitudes and behavior, and these types include ethical values, doctrinal/ideological (religious, political) values, social values, and aesthetic values. Values are one of the causes that generate behavior and influences the choices made by an individual. Values of a community identified by examining the level of honor and respect received by various groups and ideas. Value explication consists of “helping people clarify what their lives are for and what is worth working. Values are “things that have a native worth in usefulness or importance to the holder, or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” However, it is important to note that, although we may tend to think of a value as something good, virtually all values are morally relative

Key Differences

  1. Ethics is a system of moral tenets. In contrast to values, which is the stimulation of our thinking.
  2. Ethics conjures to the guidelines for conduct, that address question about morality. Value defined as the principles and ideals, which helps them in making the judgment of what is more important.
  3. Ethics drive to follow a particular course of action. On the other hand, Values strongly influence the emotional state of mind. Therefore it acts as a motivator.
  4. Ethics help us in deciding what is morally correct or incorrect, in the given situation, whereas values tell us what we want to do or achieve in our life
  5. Ethics are stable, whereas values are different for different persons, i.e., what is important for one person, may not be important for another person.
  6. Ethics determine, to what stretch our options are right or wrong. As opposed to values, which defines our priorities for life.


Although ethics are steadily applied over time and remains the same for all human beings. Values have a self-reliant approach, i.e., it modifies from person to person but remains stable, comparatively unchanging, but they changed over time due to a significant moving event.