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Ethics in Business (or, just Ethics)

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1 Ethics in Business (or, just Ethics)
Mike O’Dell Most of this presentation is derived from a presentation entitled “Business Ethics 101” delivered by Albert D. Hoppe at the 2007 AAPL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Exercises are taken from the Hoffberger Center at the University of Baltimore. test

2 Ethics, simply defined “Ethics is about how we meet the challenge of doing the right thing when that will cost us more than we want to pay.” From Maxwell, Ethics 101, p.18 CSE 4317

3 A “Viable Moral System”
Textbook author and ethicist Jacques Thiroux states that the following five principles are necessary for any ethical system to successfully govern human morality: 1. The value of life principle 2. The principle of goodness or rightness 3. The principle of justice or fairness 4. The principle of truth-telling or honesty 5. The principle of individual freedom CSE 4317

4 Two Key Aspects of Ethics
There are two key aspects of ethics: The first involves the ability to discern right from wrong, good from evil, and propriety from impropriety. The second involves the commitment to do what is right, good and proper. Ethics entails action; it is not just a topic to mull or debate.” From Maxwell, Ethics 101, p.18 CSE 4317

5 Ethics In the Workplace
In a recent workplace survey, 43% of employees admitted to having engaged in at least one unethical act in the last year, and 75% observed such an act and did nothing about it. (John Maxwell, Ethics 101, p. 10) Another recent survey found that 82% of business executives admitted to cheating at golf, and 72% believed that actions in business and golf parallel each other. (John Maxwell, Ethics 101, p. 74) CSE 4317

6 Three Quick Tests The SELF TEST, The AUTHORITY TEST,
a.k.a. the butterfly test The AUTHORITY TEST, a.k.a. what would mother say? The PUBLIC SCRUTINY TEST, a.k.a. what would the neighbors think? CSE 4317

7 Common Rationalizations
The Josephson Institute of Ethics has compiled a list of common rationalizations used to excuse ethical misconduct. Following are 10 of these rationalizations (the Institute calls these “obstacles” to ethical decision making): CSE 4317

8 Common Rationalizations
If it’s necessary, it’s ethical. If it’s legally permissible, it’s ethically proper. Compartmentalization, a.k.a. dual morality It’s all for a good cause. I was just doing it for you. CSE 4317

9 Common Rationalizations
I’m just fighting fire with fire. It doesn’t hurt anyone. Everyone’s doing it (universalism). It’s O.K. since I’m not gaining anything personally. I’m overworked and underpaid, so “I’ve got it coming.” CSE 4317

10 Exercise You know of a co-worker who is stealing supplies at work: paper, staplers, tape dispensers, hole-punchers, scissors, ink cartridges, folders, and envelopes. He justifies this by saying, “Everyone does it; it’s kind of a fringe benefit for low pay.” What do you do? What are the pros and cons of your decision? From the Hoffberger Center at the University of Baltimore CSE 4317

11 Exercise You work in the accounting department of your company and learn that a customer has been overcharged $100 per month. The customer has not yet caught the error. Nevertheless, you bring the matter to the attention of your supervisor, and you are nicely told to mind your own business. It is apparent that nothing will be done about the past overcharge and that there may be additional overcharges in the future. You know that your supervisor does not like to be challenged on any point and has reacted vindictively in the past against those who opposed her. What do you do? What are the pros and cons of your decision? CSE 4317

12 Exercise After buying two CD’s at Best Buy, you realize, after coming home, that the checker only charged you for one CD. What do you do? What are the pros and cons of your decision? Would your decision be different if your younger brother or sister knew that you had received a “free” CD? Would your decision be different if you knew the checker? CSE 4317

13 Exercise You are returning a book to an associate at work who is not in her office at the time. You happen to glance at her computer screen and notice, from the that is open, that she is engaged in non-business activities using the computer. As you read on, you realize that this activity is an ongoing independent consulting project that you know is not for your company. This activity is clearly against company policy. What should you do? What are the pros and cons of your decision ? CSE 4317

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