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Ethics vs morality vs law: Is there a difference? There are significant variations between applying each (ethics vs morals vs law) in decision making. Many people use morals and ethics interchangeably. The concept of law is quite another topic. In order to properly understand ethical concepts, it is important to understand the concepts of morality and the law. The definition of morals will reference ethics in a circular definition; same goes for ethics. But ethics represents an innate knowledge of right/wrong distinctions. Ethics transcends culture, religion, and time.

Morality is defined as having and living per a moral code, or principles of right and wrong.  Basic morality condemns murder, adultery, lying and stealing. Ethics explores the idea of morality and its place in society and addresses questions about morality. The law is based on principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people. 

This course explains the difference between morals and ethics, evaluates these concepts and put them in a business context.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the meaning and examples of ethics vs morality vs the law.
  • Recognize the differences between ethics vs morality vs the law.
  • Identify distinguishing factors between morality and ethics.
  • Explore philosopher’s theories of morality and ethics.
  • Discover a case study experiment on ethics vs morality.
  • Explore authoritative behavior versus ethics.
  • Recognize the realities of ethical authority.
  • Explore example cases of ethics vs morality and legal dilemmas.
Last updated/reviewed: May 16, 2022

Included In Certifications

This course is included in the following Certification Programs:

13 CoursesEthical Leadership Certification

  1. History of Ethics
  2. Ethics and the Psychology Behind the Concept - Part 2
  3. COSO 2013 Control Environment
  4. Today’s Corporate Ethical Culture - An updated course
  5. Managing Through Corporate Politics
  6. Real World Business Ethics Scenarios
  7. Relationship between Ethics, Morality, and the Law
  8. Impact of Ethics on Leadership
  9. Framework for Ethical Decision Making
  10. Keys to an Effective Code of Conduct
  11. Keys to Understanding Conflicts of Interest
  12. Whistleblower Hotlines - History and Regulations
  13. Whistleblower Hotlines - Effective Management

44 Reviews (139 ratings)Reviews

5
Anonymous Author
This course provided a comprehensive overview of the differences between morals, ethics, and the law. The instructor presented content in an informative and engaging way, building upon previous concepts with real-world examples. I particularly enjoyed the section on theories and experiments. Good supporting materials provided to help reiterate key concepts.
5
Anonymous Author
This is a good, basic course on ethics. Some of the information is repetitive. Case studies were very enlightening and made me understand how important it is to question and evaluate requests from those in authority. I liked that Lynda did summary review questions to reinforce the information.
5
Anonymous Author
Really great course for understanding the differences between ethics, morality and the law as well as the difficult dilemmas that could be faced by professionals in different fields. I particualry liked the light shed by Milgram Experiment. Thanks Lynn.
4
Member's Profile
Lynn gave real-life examples on how ethics, moral and the law will affect one's life when it comes to tough situations. These examples will really make you think deeper when you're making decisions.
4
Member's Profile
Lynn Fountain emphatically and clearly explains the distinctions between morality and ethics and how they are applied in organization and society as a whole. She provides good real-world examples.
4
Member's Profile
Hard to have a discussion about morality and ethics without the concept of a moral law-giver. Otherwise, everything is relative to the cultural opinions and survival of the fittest.
5
Anonymous Author
A great course to provide an overview regarding the differences between moral, ethical and lawful. It gives a detailed explanation and examples to provide further understanding.
4
Member's Profile
Good course. I've already read Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" and read up on the Milgram experiment, but it was good to see those tied in to business ethics.
5
Anonymous Author
Very informative. Great graphics too. It clearly defines the difference between morals and ethics. Very good examples. It did help to distinguish.
4
Member's Profile
Good information and discussion - a little repetitive and would have enjoyed more active dilemmas to consider rather than simply be informed.
4
Anonymous Author
The speaker is very good. She explained the difference between Morality and Ethics very well and provided various examples that are helpful.
5
Member's Profile
This course presents a very interesting material in the part of the experiment conducted on human behavior. It was very interesting to me
5
Anonymous Author
good topic to understanding the network of our behavior, reasons for it and thin ice between morals, ethics, law. well presented.
5
Anonymous Author
Great summary and support detail. Appreciated the quiz questions and various notes in preparation for the final exam at the end.
4
Anonymous Author
THis instructor provides great materials and sections off the information in a digestible manner. Just a lot and can be dense.
5
Member's Profile
I had taken the Philosophy of Ethics courses, and adding the legal aspect made this one different. Very thought provoking.
5
Anonymous Author
Such understandings will help to promote Corporations to recognize the importance of ethical policies and moral norms.
5
Member's Profile
Interesting course with varied real-life examples to help clarify the concepts. Great presenter and thorough slides.
5
Member's Profile
Thought provoking ! Thank you Lynn for another great presentation. We are lucky as learners to have you out there.
5
Anonymous Author
I found this course very informative and appreciated the real life case situations presented by the instructor.
5
Member's Profile
Material and concepts are very easy to follow. I found that some of the examples given are very interesting.
4
Anonymous Author
Easy to follow and understand and the instructor is well versed on the material and her understanding of it.
5
Anonymous Author
Comprehensive course material that did an excellent job of explaining the differences. Thought provoking.
4
Anonymous Author
Excellent overview and presentation of concepts involved in understanding ethics, morality, and the law.
4
Anonymous Author
There is a strong correlation between ethics and morality and this course helps explain the connection.
4
Anonymous Author
This is a wonderful in depth description of ethics, morality, and how the law functions within.
5
Member's Profile
excellent content. this answered personal questions that I am actually dealing with currently.
5
Member's Profile
Relatively tough and assimilable terms and subject matter handled nicely by Lynn. Well done!!!
4
Anonymous Author
Great discussion on the differences. The speaker has great insights on this topic.
5
Anonymous Author
It was interesting. I liked the social experiments were brought into the discussion
5
Anonymous Author
Ethics, morals, legality. Learn about it here. Compare and contrast. Good stuff.
5
Member's Profile
Very interesting concepts and great case study provided. Very clear examples.
4
Member's Profile
This was a hard to follow course. The Milgram Experiment was very interesting
4
Anonymous Author
The pace of the course was a little slow, recommend the course to be faster.
5
Anonymous Author
This is a great course on ethics and morality presented in a clear manner
4
Anonymous Author
The examples discussed of the experiment conducted was very interesting
5
Member's Profile
Great content. Clear and straightforward with good real life examples.
5
Anonymous Author
Excellent course, with relevant points covered on all three areas
5
Member's Profile
A good overview/refresher of the morals, ethics, and laws.
5
Anonymous Author
It was a very informative, useful and interesting session.
5
Anonymous Author
Good course, good material, good presentation and layout.
5
Anonymous Author
Excellent course - understandable and very interesting!
5
Anonymous Author
Great course to help satisfy the Ethics CPE requirement
5
Member's Profile
Awesome as always

Prerequisites

Course Complexity: Intermediate

No Advanced Preparation or Prerequisites are needed for this course, but completion of the instructor's other courses on ethics may be helpful

Education Provider Information

Company:
Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact:
For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Course Syllabus
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
  3:43Introduction to Morals vs. Ethics
Ethics, Morality, and the Law
  13:11Meaning of Morality and Ethics
  7:15The Variation
  7:14Distinguishing Factors
  8:21Theories of Jonathan Haidt
  12:43Milgram Experiment
  4:52Authoritarian Behavior and Ethics
  3:35Ethical Authority?
  11:29Conflicts
CONCLUSION
  6:54Summary
CONTINUOUS PLAY
  1:19:18Relationship between ethics, morality and the law
SUPPORTING MATERIALS
  PDFSlides: Relationship between ethics, morality and the law
  PDFRelationship between ethics, morality and the law Glossary/Index
REVIEW AND TEST
  quizREVIEW QUESTIONS
 examFINAL EXAM