Presentation on theme: "Doing Right Things: Ethics and Decision Making in Human Organizations MPA 8300 Leadership Ethics Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
Doing Right Things: Ethics and Decision Making in Human Organizations MPA 8300 Leadership Ethics Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.
right For generations, managers and leaders have wondered not only about what they might do when confronted by particularly troublesome dilemmas in their organizations. Sensing their responsibility to make things better, these women and men have also struggled to do what they believe and hope is the right thing to do. THE CHALLENGE OF ETHICS
ethics the concept of ethics... …assumes that there exist norms principles values...that have, are, and always will provide the foundation for a good life
these norms, principles, and values do not come from a religious, moral, political, or social source... …but are the product of rational reflection upon human existence …and exist independent of any religious, moral, political, or social system (i.e., are universally true)
these norms, principles, and values are normative for decision making... …while they do not specify what the decision should be …they do provide a principled framework to engage in making good decisions …for which managers and leaders bear responsibility
mutuality mutuality: Are all parties operating under the same understanding of the rules of engagement?
generalizability generalizability: Does a specific action follow a principle of conduct that is applicable to all comparable situations?
caring caring: Does this action evidence authentic concern for the legitimate interests of others?
respect respect: Does this action demonstrate due consideration for the dignity and rights of others?
honesty honesty: Is this decision and the process leading to it straight-forward and forthright?
Although these basic principles constitute the fundamental elements embedded in an ethical decision... …these principles do not provide a comprehensive ethical framework... …for use when managers and leaders engage in the decision-making process.
An executive ethical decision-making process (Barnard,1968)... An executive ethical decision-making process (Barnard, 1968)... 1.Recognize that people come to organizations with personal motives. 2.Direct efforts to induce cooperation towards a common effort. 3.Uphold the organizational purpose. 4.Design impersonal goals that translate the organization’s purpose into meaningful projects.
Questions for ethical decision making (Lax & Sebenius, 1986)... Are the rules understood and accepted? …in poker, for example, bluffing is a defined part of the game
Is the decision defensible under tough scrutiny in the public forum? …it is highly probable that an important decision will be “spun” in ways that distort what managers and leaders intend
Would you want someone to make the very same decision... …if it impacted you? …if it impacted members of your family?
Should everybody act this way? …should children be trained to act this way? …should society be organized this way? …should people in organizations behave this way?
What are the alternatives? …what are the pro’s and con’s associated with each alternative? …can differences be negotiated so that the decision rests on a firmer ethical ground?
Ethics is “inquiry into the right thing” and acting conversant with it... right When managers and leaders endeavor to inquire into the right thing... …“we are inquiring not in order to know what virtue is but in order to become good” …neither “to fall under any art or precept… but to consider what is appropriate to the occasion” (Aristotle, Ethics II.2, p. 183)
A paradigm for ethical decision making (Aristotle,Ethics III.2-5)... A paradigm for ethical decision making (Aristotle, Ethics III.2-5)... quantitative and qualitative factual data that describe “what is truly the case” knowledge of the good abstract, theoretical concepts identifying “the truly good” For managers and leaders, the primary sources of knowledge are research and experience.
technical skills techniques that foster the good repertoires honed through experience For managers and leaders, techniques are learned in formal and informal apprenticeships where reflection on practice facilitates the development of expertise.
In light of what the good requires: practice deliberation concerning the techniques that will foster the good deliberation concerning the facts and ideas of this case
Aristotle’s ethical decision-making paradigm... ideas concerning what is good, proper, and just techniques discrete skills to achieve what is good, proper, and just practice a practical judgment about what must be done in this situation, given what theory and best practice suggest knowledge
For Aristotle, ethical practice is not... dictating to others what the good is and what they ought to do mindlessly enacting routines inculcated in training programs
For Aristotle, ethical practice is... being deliberate by integrating a rational principle with a proven technique through discursive thought (ratiocination) responding: to the right person to the right extent at the right time in the right way
evidencing a virtuous character revealed in practical wisdom when making decisions bearing responsibility for the choices made and, thus... inculcating virtue throughout the organization as a shared purpose
what For Aristotle, then, it is not so much what managers or leaders do that is crucial for ethical decision making... why...what is crucial is why managers or leaders do what they do...and the quality of character revealed in very practical decisions.
“…that is not for everyone, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.” Aristotle, Ethics, II.9
Four ethical virtues... courage courage pride pride anger anger truth truth
COURAGE …the quality of being fearless or brave when facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful
PRIDE …the quality, state, and behavior evidencing an accurate perception of one’s dignity and worth
ANGER …the feeling engendered by a real or supposed injury for which one seeks satisfaction
TRUTH …the quality or state of sincerity, genuineness, honesty, trustworthiness, and loyalty emerging when one acts in accord with verified experience, facts, or reality
Aristotle’s theory of the “Golden Mean”... …found somewhere between an excess (a positive vice) …and a deficiency (a negative vice) …which reflects the true character of the person making the decision A virtue is a mean, delicate to achieve...
COURAGE confidence fear Manager/Leader Virtue: as a vice: an excess as a vice: a defect as a virtue: a “golden mean”
Courage, then, is virtuous when it is a practical judgment of the intellect wherein the defect of paralyzing fear and the excess of exuberant confidence are balanced as managers/leaders act rightly.
PRIDE vanity humility Manager/Leader Virtue: as a vice: an excess as a vice: a defect as a virtue: a “golden mean”
Pride, then, is virtuous when it is a practical judgment of the intellect wherein the defect of humility and the excess of vanity are balanced as managers/leaders act rightly.
ANGER irascibility equanimity Manager/Leader Virtue: as a vice: an excess as a vice: a defect as a virtue: a “golden mean”
Anger, then, is virtuous when it is a practical judgment of the intellect wherein the defect of equanimity and the excess of irascibility are balanced as managers/leaders act rightly.
TRUTH boasting modesty Manager/Leader Virtue: as a vice: an excess as a vice: a defect as a virtue: a “golden mean”
Truth, then, is virtuous when it is a practical judgment of the intellect wherein the defect of modesty and the excess of envy are balanced as managers/leaders act rightly.
Enables managers and leaders... something everything...to stand for something when people prefer that managers and leaders stand for everything right right...to do right things when people prefer that managers and leaders do things right A virtue-based process of ethical decision making...
ethical decision making Ethical decision making inculcates the virtues needed for managers and leaders to engage others in a collaborative toward attaining what ought to be the case. …the intellectual exercise through which managers and leaders render practical judgments of the intellect about what ought to be the case, given what is, so as to promote the good
effective managers and leaders are …virtuous Using ethical decision making... whose primary concerns are …“what ought to be” given “what is” …balancing the common and collective good …wise …decisive …reflective right …doing right things
ineffective managers and leaders …implement ideas mindlessly Abusing ethical decision making... whose primary concerns are …doing things right …self-protection …deny responsibility …point the finger of blame at others …one’s desires and wishes
…is not a learned behavior or lifestyle worn like a set of clothes, but... Ethical decision making... focus a matter of focus: seeking constantly to do what is right and necessary in the system time a matter of time: devoting inordinate amounts of time to doing right things feeling a matter of feeling: putting one’s whole psyche, energy, and conviction into it
This module has focused on... ethical decision making ethical decision making and how managers and leaders can utilize it in practice episodes...
“By acting virtuously in our transactions with other human beings we become virtuous or unvirtuous. The states of character arise out of activity. It makes no small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or another from our very youth; it makes a great difference, or rather, all the difference.” Aristotle, Ethics, II.1, p. 183 ETHICAL DECISION MAKING
Although existing in a pluralistic and secular world, organizations cannot impose a particular religious, moral, political, or social ethical framework upon employees... …managers and leaders, however, can and should make their purpose clear, hold subordinates accountable, and engage them in dialogue about the ethical choices that arise in practice.
The outcome of ethical practice is the gradual transformation of an impersonal workplace into a viable community of people... Work, then, is not simply “a job” but an opportunity to learn about and engage in living a truly good life....who respect and recognize in one another the virtues that make being human and contributing to a cooperative endeavor meaningful.
References Aristotle. (1958). The Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). In J. D. Kaplan (Ed.), The pocket Aristotle (pp ). New York: Simon & Schuster. Barnard, C. I. (1938/1968). The functions of the executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (2 nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Etzioni, A. (1975). A comparative analysis of complex organizations. New York: Free Press.
References Lax, D. A., & Sebenius, J. K. (1986). The manager as negotiator. New York: Free Press. Sergiovanni, T. J. (1989). Informing professional practice in educational administration. Journal of Educational Administration, 27(2), p. 186.