Relationship Between Ethics, Morality, and the Law



Relationship Between Ethics, Morality, and the Law

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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 evaluates these concepts and put them in a business context.

Basic Course Information

Learning Objectives

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

Major Subjects

  • Meaning of morality and ethics
  • The variation
  • Distinguishing factors
  • Theories of Jonathan Haidt
  • Milgram experiment
  • Authoritarian behavior and ethics
  • Ethical authority?
  • Conflicts

Lynn Fountain has over 37 years of experience spanning public accounting, corporate accounting and consulting. 22 years of her experience has been working in the areas of internal and external auditing. She is a subject matter expert in multiple fields including internal audit, ethics, fraud evaluations, Sarbanes-Oxley, enterprise risk management, governance, financial management and compliance. 

Ms. Fountain has held two Chief Audit Executive positions for international companies. In 2011, as the Chief Audit Executive for an international construction/ engineering firm, she was involved in the active investigation of a joint venture fraud.  The investigation included work with the FBI and ultimately led to indictment of the perpetrators and recovery of $13M.  Ms. Fountain is currently engaged in her own training and consulting business and is a regular trainer for the AICPA.

Ms. Fountain is the author of three separate technical books.  “Raise the Red Flag – The Internal Auditors Guide to Fraud Evaluations” was published by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation. “Leading The Internal Audit Function” and “Ethics and The Internal Auditor Political Dilemma” were published by Taylor & Francis In addition,

Ms. Fountain has performed as an adjunct instructor for the School of Business for Grantham University and developed the first internal audit curriculum for the School of Business at the University of Kansas.  Ms. Fountain obtained her BSBA from Pittsburg State University and her MBA from Washburn University in Kansas. She has her CGMA, CRMA credentials and CPA certificate (non-active).



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Relationship Between Ethics, Morality, and the Law

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