Solved by verified expert:Abortion12-page APA paper that analyzes the concepts discussed in this course as applied to an issue concerning ethics.Attachment one is a ex.Helpful references:Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional ResponsibilitiesBowman, J. S., & West, J. P. (2015).Blind Spots Bazerman, M., & Tenbrunsel, A. (2011).To Serve with Honor: Doing the Right Thing in GovernmentNewell, T. (2015).


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Bro Code: The Power of Social Ethics
by Jasmine Atkinson
importance of social links developed with
peers, teachers, and friends from which our
social norms originate.
There is much speculation as to where we
derive our ethics. That is, what factors most
influence our moral judgement and drive our
internal codes of integrity and justice. Ethics,
like many of the traits and characteristics that
define us, are part of a psychological
process. As such, many psychologists have
attempted to determine the primary
influences on our beliefs and behaviors.
In this paper, we will examine the social and
ethical norms developed between men,
known as “Bro Code”, and how these
practices impact and alter the ethical
decision-making process. First, we will
examine the definition of Bro Code, and the
behaviors it endorses, then moving on to
how the implementation of Bro Code impacts
the workplace, and erodes moral judgement.
What is Bro Code?
The Urban Dictionary describes Bro Code as
“a guideline to live by.” These are unofficial
rules between groups of men which promote
loyalty and solidarity to the members of said
group above all else. This can be considered
a subcultural norm. These social contracts
between Bros are developed over time
through a mutual understanding among
members of the group. While Bro Code may
vary between social groups, the existence of
a code of ethics among men is widely known.
Pop culture has recently began using the
term “Bromance” to describe the close
relationships among men. There is also a
widely viewed comedy show on MTV entitled
“Guy Code”, which features a group of male
celebrities giving their opinions and advice
on what is and is not acceptable among
groups of male friends. Bro Code may seem
like a harmless practice between friends, but
upon further investigation, we will find that
there are real consequences to this type of
These studies have produced theories such
as the Social Cognitive Theory, the Social
Exchange Theory, the Reasoned Action
Theory, the Primary Socialization and social
bonding theories, the Social Identity Theory,
the Social Exchange Theory, and the Social
Network Theory. (Simmons-Morton &
Farhat, 2010) The common factor among
these theories is the existence and
The Rules
Rule #4: Just Do It
In order to understand where ethical errors
occur in practicing Bro Code, we must first
understand what Bo Code implies. Again, the
expectations among Bros varies, but certain
rules are known to be recurring among
certain cultures, and especially in America
where Bromance is highly popularized.
Most Bro-groups also develop a certain level
of agreeableness whereby participation is
mandatory even if you don’t want to engage
in said activity. While this can foster a
willingness to compromise, it can also lead to
groupthink, which we will discuss later.
Rule 1: Bros before Hos
Rule #5: One Stall Rule
As vulgar as it sounds, the most known and
accepted rule is “Bros before Hos.” By this
standard, the primary loyalty of any man is to
his male friends. This means that each man
is expected to protect and defend his male
friends at all costs. The most common
example is one man corroborating a story,
true or otherwise, on behalf of another, often
to that man’s significant other.
Similar to the social norm of leaving a space
of one stall between the next person using a
urinal, a lot of Bro Code has to do with
maintaining a comfortable distance. This
includes the manner in which one bro
touches or speaks to another. While
respecting the personal space of others is
admirable, these rules intend to protect a
standard of “manliness” which can
subconsciously lead to feelings of
Rule #2: Off Limits Dating
The next known rule among Bros is the
restriction of who another Bro is allowed to
date. The most common restrictions are
placed on close relatives, significant others,
exes, and prospects of another Bro. It may
seem harmless, but by this standard, men
are effectively calling “dibs” on women.
Furthermore, Bros tend to establish rules
which determine the characteristics of a
suitable prospect and any Bro who dates
below the group standard is often ridiculed.
This creates a negative impact not only on
the men, but on the women who seemingly
are not good enough to be pursued.
Social Ethics and Bro Code
For the purposes of this paper, Social Ethics
refers to the norms and standards of morality
and civility developed from external social
factors. Where ethical decisions are
impacted by peers, family, friends, the
community, or society as whole, we develop
Micro Threshold
Meso Threshold
Rule #3: Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden
Macro Threshold
The next rule ordains that the rules of the Bro
Code never be revealed to any woman for
any reason. This makes male friendships the
proverbial “Fight Club”, creating a world of
underground activities which are restricted to
men only. This leads to the development of
an in-group/out-group mentality creating a
chasm between genders in various settings.
a social ethical code which may differ from
our personal code of ethics. In some cases,
our social ethics are less strict, and in other
cases it may be the opposite.
The ability of society to influence our ethics
substantiates the notion that our ethical
threshold is not a solid line, but a series of
permeable spaces whereby movement
between ethical standing is not only possible,
but often necessary. (See diagram above)
Assume that our personal ethical code
prohibits drinking, but when impacted by
external societal factors such as peer
pressure and the desire to build and maintain
relationships, we then exit our personal
ethical threshold and enter our social ethical
The use of Bro Code as a standard of ethics
among male friends causes a number of
errors in the psychological process by which
we determine our own morality and
rightness. The existence of such a strong
source off ethical influence can work to
improve or degrade our moral judgement,
but in many cases, Bro Code falls into the
latter category.
Bounded Ethicality
Bounded ethicality is the psychological
process which leads even a good person to
make unethical decisions. Through bounded
ethicality we examine the effects of external
influencers on ethics and how own
psychological processes lead us make
decisions which may be considered immoral.
This is relevant to Bro Code as many men
who follow these social standards may
otherwise be considered ethical.
This is observed through the existence of
micro, meso, and macro levels of ethics.
(Bowman & West, 2015) As our sense of
right and wrong are affected by our duties
and obligations to other people and
institutions, we become strongly influenced
by our surroundings where ethics are
concerned. This tendency for our personal
ethics to be impacted by external sources
coupled with the fact that ethics are
developed over time through our actions can
cause ethical erosion when we are regularly
encouraged to participate in unethical acts.
This is the basis for the argument that Bro
Code creates a negative atmosphere for the
practice of ethical decision making. We will
examine the validity of this argument by
finding the ethical errors promoted through
the use of Bro Code.
Bounded Awareness
Bounded awareness occurs when we fail to
recognize the ethical issues of our decisions.
This ethical blindness causes us to lose sight
of our morals in favor of our goals and
desires. In practicing Bro Code, men are
effectively disregarding their personal
principles in favor of the group. For example,
a man may engage in a prank against
another which he feels is morally wrong, but
he will ignore his own feelings of impropriety
for the acceptance of the group. As one
becomes more accustomed to ignoring their
own ethical code, their ethics become
virtually nonexistent.
Behavioral Ethics and Bro Code
Ethical Fading
Ethical fading is the process by which we fail
to see the ethical consequences of our
decisions. This allows us to place false
weight in irrelevant factors in the place of
moral reasoning and leaves us susceptible to
post-decision errors. By placing arbitrary
ethical rules like Bro Code in effect, values
are diverted to those pre-determined
standards rather than being determined by
personal ethical codes.
recognize anything other than what we wish
to acknowledge. The strong sensee of
support and encouragement regardless of
right or wrong promoted by the Brro Code
creates underlying conffirmatioon bias,,
allowing Bros to continue their belief in their
own rightness without necessarily practicing
it. This is apparent in the first rule of Bro
Code which places extreme emphasis on the
superiority of male camaraderie to any other
obligation. In doing so, they also create a
sense of self-righteousness which gives way
to self-affirmation.
Psychological Cleansing
Psychological cleansing refers to the act of
switching our ethics on and off, moving
between amoral, immoral, and moral on an
inconsistent basis. This is exemplified
through Bro Code by the tendency of male
friends to engage in unethical behavior within
their friend groups, then switch into ethical
behavior in other settings. This fickle
adherence to morality can lead to the loss of
our ethical standards.
Ethical Spinning
Ethical spinning is a by-product of Bro-Code
which enables a rationalization of unethical
behavior. The mere existence of Bro Code
gives way to this practice by encouraging
men to follow a different set of rules than they
normally would. Establishing this secondary
set of rules creates a false sense that
commitment to the first is optional. Where
Bro Code is less restricted than one’s
personal code of ethics, it is possible to
forego personal ethics without feeling
unethical so long as Bro Code has been
Recollection Bias
There is often a tendency to remember only
what one wants to remember. In that same
sense, recollection bias occurs when we
recall only our ethical decisions and not our
unethical ones. As we continue to make
unethical decisions on a regular basis,
ethical fading can leaded to recollection bias
by highlighting our good choices and
allowing the bad to fade away from our
memory. This is common among Bros who
will recognize the good in themselves and
their group over the bad, and reinforce their
decisions based on those perceived positive
Understanding behavioral ethics and
applying the concepts to Bro Code reveals
an asymmetry between ethics as they are
perceived and ethics as they are practiced.
This gap between perceived and actual
ethics is captured by the theory of the want
self-versus the should self. (Bazerman &
Tenbrunsel, 2011) The want self represents
the decisions we make in the moment when
our primary focus is on reaching our goal and
the should self represents our more
thoughtful and analytical analysis of what is
the right thing to do.
Confirmation Bias
Similar to the effect of recollection bias,
confirmation bias is the process by which we
hold a firm belief in our own pre-existing
notions. By this process, we are unable to
Bro Code relates to this theory in the sense
that desires of the want self are derived from
a belonging to a male group of friends, and
tend to overpower a personal desire to follow
our own code of ethics. This desensitization
to ethics carries over from one level to the
next. Bro Code also impacts mesa level
institutional ethics by creating male
dominated workplaces through the same
practices supported by Bro Code. In the case
of a professional setting, Bro Code takes the
form of Boys Clubs or “Good Ol’ Boys Clubs”,
which are strong groups of influential men
within a workplace.
Boys Clubs like groups of male friends are
built upon a foundation of shared cultural
values. They tend to value camaraderie and
loyalty above all else. Furthermore, the
individuals in these groups seek out likeminded people who share their opinions and
interests. The EEOC has coined the term
“like-me” bias to describe the tendency of
people to seek out similarities in others with
whom they regularly socialize. This again
creates and exclusionary culture among the
Boys Clubs.
Aside from the similarities between the
structure, culture, and composition of Boys
Clubs and Bros groups, there are also
similarities in the impact their existence has
on the ethical practices of members as well
as the blowback on others. The same biases
and errors which occur from the
development of Bro Code also occur from the
formation of Boys Clubs.
Boys Clubs: Professional Bro Codes
Boys Clubs where the workplace is
concerned are a naturally and often
subconsciously formed affinity groups which
consist primarily of white males. (Segal,
2012) These groups are in many cases
dominant forces within the office and are
considered to be the in-group. A number of
factors contribute to the existence of these
types of groups, and there is a link between
Boys Clubs and Bro Code.
Consequences of Bro Code on the
Eroded Moral Judgement
Structural Similarities
The extent to which one is ethically impacted
by the use of Bro Code can be great,
especially where these rules promote
unethical behaviors. The psychological
errors associated with the formation of Bro
Code can bleed into personal ethical
The underlying premise of both types of
groups is that they are exclusive, tight knit,
and construct their own system of rules and
standards. Boys Clubs tend to develop a set
of principles similar to Bro Code whereby
they support one another and work together
to achieve professional goals.
Because ethics are self-imposed and
subjective, our integrity is vulnerable to
change, and may not be followed as strictly
when self-enforced. The development of and
participation is weak standards of morality
can become a slippery slope by which all
ethical decisions become subject to relativity,
and the goals become more important than
the process by which they were reached.
Compositional Similarities
Just as Bro groups are relegated to male
friends, Boys Clubs are restricted to men as
well. That’s not to say that a woman cannot
be a member of a Boys Club in any
workplace, however, the likelihood of a
female member is very low.
Cultural Similarities
The Fishbowl Effect
This is exhibited throughout the rules of Bro
Code, which provide exceptions and
exemptions to ethical behaviors where
unethical behavior is in the best interest of
some or all of the group.
The implications of Bro Code on the
individual are easily overlooked by the ingroup, but those forced into the out-group
are more blatantly affected by this
segregation. (Times, 1994) Because these
groups are formed naturally based on
perceived similarities, it is almost impossible
to enter the group unless by some means
invited. This exclusivity effectively forces
those who do not fit into an out-group with no
access to the perks of the Boys Club or Bro
group and no voice to affect change within
the in-group, similar to the fishbowl example
Loss of Independence
The collectivism involved in this type of social
bonding may become a hindrance to
personal growth and development. When
there is so much pressure to belong to a
group, there is a tendency to sacrifice
individuality for togetherness. This sort of
voluntary groupthink stifles personality and
creativity not only for individuals, but for the
group as whole.
The psychological effect of such rejection
can be harsh, but there are other implications
as well, such as limited ability to succeed
where success is determined by participation
in the in-group. This is particularly relevant
when analyzing the dynamics of Boys Clubs
in the workplace. Where members or
affiliates of high-powered groups receive
better opportunities, it can be difficult to
progress without any attachment to the incrowd.
This is most evident in rule 4, “just do it”,
whereby members of the group are
encouraged to go along with the desires of
others even against their own will, creating a
habit of coercion.
Consequences of Bro Code on Others
For example, if a manger grants access to
meetings and interviews to employees based
on personal association, those with whom he
is not familiar may suffer professionally even
if they are more deserving of the opportunity.
Discrimination and Prejudice
When superiority and exclusivity are so
commonly endorsed, groups begin to place
negative connotations on others they deem
unworthy. Because such a strong preference
exists to socialize with like-minded people
when part of such impermeable groups,
members tend to develop subconscious
These prejudices then develop into
discrimination which begins as a practice
relegated to inclusion within the specified
group and can form into personal application
of discrimination.
This correlates to the moral minimum, which
is the minimum obligation one holds to enact
their ethics. The purpose of the moral
minimum is merely to “avoid and correct
social injury.” (Bowman & West, 2015)
Without context, the moral minimum is open
to interpretation, and this is where external
factors become highly influential in acting
upon our ethics.
For example, a Boys Club comprised of
straight men may develop a culture which is
unaccepting of homosexual men, thereby
discriminating against them and barring them
from membership in the group. This may lead
to personal feelings of homophobia in
individual group members which can cross
into their regular personal and professional
interactions. This is a dangerous habit to
form not only from an ethical standpoint, but
from a social and behavioral standpoint as
The desire to be included and socially
connected to others is a driving factor in our
lives, and impacts the way we behave as well
as how we rationalize that behavior. This
becomes clear as we study the dynamics of
Bro Code and understand the extent to which
members of male friend groups and Boys
Clubs are willing to alter or dismiss their own
beliefs and independence for the group
which they participate in.
The existence of and participation in arbitrary
codes of ethics such as Bro Code are
detrimental to our individual moral judgement
and ethical processes. By placing emphasis
on the desires of a social group rather than a
standard set of ethical beliefs, we give way
to undue influence which can negatively
impact our decision-making skills.
Moving into an advanced state of ethicality
acknowledgement of the existence of social
groups from which ethical principles are
derived. Bro code is one of many social
standards affecting many individuals and the
way they interact with society. Much like how
a Country’s law and government set
parameters for right and wrong, so do our
friends, family, and peers. It is important to
consider this when contemplating ethical
action and the improvement of moral
While there have yet to been in-depth studies
regarding the psychological processes of
male friend groups and the effect on ethics,
this analysis provides some foundation to the
understanding of Bro Code. The practical
application of concepts and information
regarding ethics, morality, and psychological
reasoning through the examination of Bro
Code reveals a serious flaw in the way we
perceive and practice ethics.
investigation of Bro Code that there is a need
on an individual basis to evaluate our ethics
and create a system for checking and
correcting ethical errors. The following is a
recommendation for eliminating the negative
influences of Bro Code and avoiding the
development of workplace Boys Clubs.
While rigidity in our beliefs is not always
rec …
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