Ethics and Values – Difference Between Ethics and Values

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between ethics and values lies in their concept, the meaning of the terms and their definition. Ethics is a type of moral philosophy that “engages in defending, systemizing and recommending fundamentals of right and wrong behavior”. On the other hand, value denotes a person’s sense of assigning importance to an action or a certain thing. In short, the value reflects a person’s sense of right and wrong.

Difference Between Ethics and Values PDF

The basic difference between Ethics vs Values is that while ethics is the standardized concept of right or wrong, value is a person’s own sense of right and wrong. Ethics concerns human activities and selecting those movements, whereas values are rudimentary beliefs that direct or encourage mindsets. Walk through the article to get the definition, meaning and difference between Ethics and Values.

Difference Between Ethics and Values

The terms ethics and values are often mistaken for one another. However, these terms – though a part of social sciences – are completely different. While ethics denote the moral principles of society at large, values are more personal and vary between individuals. Some of the key difference between Ethics and Values are presented in the given table.

Ethics vs Values

Ethics and Values

SL. No.




A prevalent system of moral principles within the society at large or within a specific community is known as ethics.

Values are intrinsically associated with a person’s individual thought process.

A person’s ability to distinguish between right and wrong is known as value.


Ethics is associated with a more professional setup.

Values are associated with a person’s own individual or personal beliefs.


Ethics can be further segregated into three major types – Meta-Ethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics.

It is taught as a study of moral philosophy.

The major types of values seen in a person are religious, social, political, moral, and aesthetic.


Although ethics is consistent and present in all professional spaces, the ethics between two different professional setups or companies may be completely different.

Values vary from person to person.

Sometimes people belonging to the same family or unit may exhibit different value systems altogether.


Various industries, organizations, and institutions define principles of ethics.

Various professions may have different types of ethics.

For example, the ethics followed by medical professionals may differ from those involved in logistics.

Various identities – religious, cultural, family, and community – go on to define a person’s own individual values.

Their profession does not generally have any effect on values.


In many situations, ethics may come across as constraints.

Sometimes an action needed by a professional may not go well with the person’s values, thus, creating a great conflict.

However, in most cases, the ethics of a profession don’t tend to be stumbling blocks to a person.

Sometimes values can act as a catalyst for an individual’s professional and personal growth.

It could provide the required motivation to scale up in life and profession.

Ethics and Values

Below are certain important points highlighting the difference between ethics and values. Since both terms are part of moral philosophy and are sometimes mutually exclusive, many people tend to jumble up their definitions and differences.

What are Ethics?

An array of moral principles that judge human actions and intent to be right or wrong constitutes ethics in a community. It is renowned as “moral philosophy”. The actions are weighed in accordance with the moral principles catering to the answer of the distinction between right and wrong.

  • Three major branches of ethics are Metaethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics.
  • It finds space in all organizations and workspaces but differs in accordance with each one’s principles.

What are Values?

Values are the acknowledgement between wrong and right; it is associated with an individual’s thinking process and perception. These values play an instrumental role in making decisions.

  • The values are entrenched in the personal beliefs and faith of individuals.
  • The numerous identities of an individual, such as religious, family, cultural, and community, cumulatively construct an individual’s values.


Key Difference Between Ethics and Values

The key Difference Between Ethics and Values is that Ethics is the same in a profession, whereas Values are different. Ethics is followed in an organization, while values are specific for a particular individual.

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