The importance of ethos

importance of ethos
  • Blog By
    Ms. Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Editor – Content & Academic Coordinator – KG
    The Indian Public School
    July 28, 2020 | In Blog


Ethos is originally a Greek word that found its way into the English dictionary over time. Translated to mean spirit or character, it defines the beliefs or fundamental values that are distinctive to an individual or particular group. Interestingly, this is a word that is used in the singular sense. That is to say, all key fundamental values of a particular group unite together to form the singular ethos of that group. So, each group or individual can have one ethos that is formed by collating their different ideals or beliefs together.


Your ethos defines who you are

Defining your ethos or that of your organization is to make known to the world, the fundamental driving forces and underlying sentiments as a metaphorical foundation to what you stand for. Your ethos will drive your vision (why) and subsequently, mission (how) statements. Ethos is also the root word for the modern-day word, ethics. So when you define your ethos, you are in a sense also alluding to your ethical beliefs or moral values and beliefs. Ethos, mission, vision & ethics together form a quartet. This quartet acts as a guiding beacon to all your actions, present or future.

Actions are louder than words

Defining one’s ethos is a good first step in charting a new path or redefining an existing path but it must be followed by practices that reinforce the same. So, if your ethos mentions you ‘strive to grow responsibly’ there must be tangible evidence of this. For example, it could translate into giving back to the community through corporate social endeavours; it could be abiding by environmental guidelines; it could be manufacturing and delivering a product that does not harm animals while testing; it could also very simply be that you expect all members of your group to be good human beings, well-adjusted, law-abiding members of society and upstanding global citizens. Interpretation would naturally depend on context and nature of the group or organization.

Ethos at school

defining organizational ethos can unite purpose and action

As schools grow in size and extend across geographical boundaries, it makes sense to define an ethos that unites purpose and action, and motivates every individual stakeholder. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators are drawn together and united in a unique subculture defined by the ethos of the school. School ethos can significantly strengthen empathy and induce synergistic progression towards achieving common goals. Students understand what is expected of them. Teachers understand how they must conduct themselves to be apt role models for students. Administrators understand how they can best provide support to teaching staff, students and parents. A well-defined school ethos goes a long way in bringing the 3 E’s of education to fruition; extraordinary education, extraordinary exposure and extraordinary experience.

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