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The Quest for Ethical Best Practice Chris Einolf, DePaul University School of Public Service NCDC Conference, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "The Quest for Ethical Best Practice Chris Einolf, DePaul University School of Public Service NCDC Conference, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Quest for Ethical Best Practice Chris Einolf, DePaul University School of Public Service NCDC Conference, 2014

2 Overview I.Definition of ethics II.Compliance-based and virtue ethics III.State of nonprofit ethics IV.Barriers to ethical behavior V.Solutions

3 I. Define ethics What are “ethics”? What are organizational ethics? How do they differ from individual ethics?

4 II. Compliance vs. virtue Compliance: Obey rules in the pursuit of self- interest or organizational goals. Common in business, public administration Virtue: Skills to lead a worthwhile life. What is a worthwhile life? Catholic organizations? Your organization?

5 Nonprofit ethical codes Independent Sector: “Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice” https://www.independentsector.org/principles_ guide_summary Donor’s Forum: “Illinois Nonprofit Principles and Best Practices” https://donorsforum.org/sites/default/files/files /pages/Purple%20Book%20PDF.PDF

6 Nonprofit ethics 6 elements: written standards (code of conduct) training helpline employee evaluation on ethics discipline for violations resources to answer ethics questions Source: Ethics Resource Center. (2008). National Nonprofit Ethics Survey, 2007. www.ethics.org.www.ethics.org

7 Nonprofit ethics programs: All 6 elements: 44% Some elements: 52% No elements: 4% Those with all 6 elements reported very low rates of unethical behavior. Small organizations and ones where the ED (not the Board) led on ethics had better behavior. Source: Ethics Resource Center. (2008).

8 Ethics across the 3 sectors NonprofitFor ProfitGovernment Strong culture:58%52%50% Value alignment:45%40%36% Effective program:32%25%17% Seen misconduct:57%56%55% Seen financial fraud: 8%5%6% Less ethical:19%7%11% Not in right direction: 18%9%13%

9 IV. Barriers to ethical behavior A.Reason: rationalization B.Emotions: Not reliable C.Framing D.Awareness

10 Reasoning A useful skill, but: -Most decisions are intuitive -Reasoning acts as a lawyer, not a judge. It rationalizes after the fact

11 Emotions Gut feelings The “sleep test” Fundamental attribution error Self-serving bias “I am satisfied with my moral character (T/F)” “I am more ethical than my fellow students (T/F)” Satisfied: 92% More ethical than average: 75%

12 Framing ABC Drug Company’s most profitable drug, its internal studies indicate, causes 14-22 “unnecessary” deaths a year. Competitors offer a safe medication with the same benefits at the same price. If regulators knew of the internal study, they would ban sale of the drug.

13 Power of framing -Ethical dilemma: 97% say stop making the drug. -Business case: Nobody says stop making it; 80% say hire lawyers and lobbyists. Challenger disaster: “Put on your managers’ hats’

14 Social norms Conformity bias: Asch experiments Advertising Petrified forest study

15 Awareness http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay 4 How many counted the passes correctly? How many saw the bear? Did anyone do both? What does it have to do with ethics?

16 Solutions I.“Want” self vs. “should” self II.Power of others

17 “Want” self and “should” self Changing the “want” self: Prescripts (heroes study) Pre-commitment devices (imagine temptation) Strengthen the “should” self: Awareness Monitoring rationalizations

18 Power of others Strong effect of social context Choose good social contexts Encourage good moral environment

19 Religious culture Positive: Virtue ethics, culture of values Negative: Fraud common in religious non- profits. Why? - Higher authority - Excessive trust Solution: Follow rules


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