Morals and ethics are both good things.
Many words sound like they mean the same thing, — but — if we are using the words the way our English teachers intended, there are differences.
Morals refer to personal standards such as honesty, generosity, integrity and kindness. Ethics actually refer to rules that are set by an external group.
An example – accountants are required to follow the rules of ethical conduct set out by their professional association. An accountant is also kind, honest and generous but these are morals, not required by the professional association.
How does this apply to governance? You do not see an organization setting out a list of morals that are best practices. You do see that an organization will have a code of ethics for both board members and for employees. There is definitely some overlap as it is easier for someone whose personal morals include integrity to follow a code of ethics.
Organizations should look for board members whose personal morals are a good fit with the ethics of the organization.
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