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If you think your ethics are nobody's business...think again! Sandra Rothenberg.

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Presentation on theme: "If you think your ethics are nobody's business...think again! Sandra Rothenberg."— Presentation transcript:

1 If you think your ethics are nobody's business...think again! Sandra Rothenberg

2 Thinking About Ethics

3 Utilitarianism Act so as to produce the greatest ratio of good/evil Look at the costs and benefits of alternatives, sum them, and chose the option with the greatest benefit

4 Rights Are Rights Violated? Kant’s Categorical Imperatives Provides Foundation for Duties, Moral Rights  Universality – Would I want everyone to behave according to that rule?  Reversibility – Would I want that rule to apply to me?  Treat individuals as autonomous ends, and so never solely as means. Respecting their autonomy to chose

5 Justice Are Rewards and Punishments Fairly Distributed? ◦DISTRIBUTIVE, RETRIBUTIVE, COMPENSATORY, PROCEDURAL Rawl’s Theory of Justice ◦What would be fair principles if we didn’t know what our station in society would be? ◦We would adopt two principles:  Each person has an equal right to the same basic liberties  Social and economic inequalities are arranged so that they are both ◦ to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged persons ◦ attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity

6 But Wait…one more thing Carol Gilligan ◦She argued that men are likely to consider moral issues in terms of justice rules, and individual rights. ◦Women tend to consider such issues in terms of relationships, caring, and compassion.

7 Ethic of Care An ethic of care and responsibility develops from an individual's feeling of interconnectedness with others. Emphasis on responsibilities to others.

8 Character Development: Virtue Ethics Key focus: what kind of person should I be? ◦Moral character more important than right action ◦Virtue permits successful, rewarding, good lives ◦Assumption: virtuous character leads to right action

9 9 Steps to Sound Ethical Decision Making Gather the Facts Define the Ethical Issues Identify the Affected Parties Identify the Options Identify the Consequences (Utility) Identify the Obligations (Rights, Justice, Care) Consider Your Character & Integrity Check Your Gut Think Creatively About Other Potential Actions

10 It’s a Good Thing Sam Waksal, founder and CEO if Imclone calls his broker (Peter Bavanovic) to sell his shares in the company ◦Talks to assistant (Douglas Faneuil) instead Douglas calls Peter and tells him about it Peter leaves a message with Martha indicating that the stock may start trading downwards Peter tells Douglas to tell Martha Stewart what is happening if she calls Martha calls the NY office and tells Douglas to sell

11 Creating a Culture of Integrity

12 Sources: Lynn Sharp Paine, “Managing for Organizational Integrity,” Harvard Business Review, March/April 1994, pp. 106-117 and Gary Weaver and Linda Klebe Trevino, “Compliance and Values Oriented Ethics Programs: Influences on Employees’ Attitudes and Behavior,” Business Ethics Quarterly, 9(1999), pp. 315-335. Compliance-based programs Rooted in avoiding legal sanctions. Companies will establish rules and guidelines for employees to follow. Emphasizes threat of detection and punishment. Assumes employees are driven by self- interest. Research evidence shows that employees do care about moral correctness of their actions.

13 Sources: Lynn Sharp Paine, “Managing for Organizational Integrity,” Harvard Business Review, March/April 1994, pp. 106-117 and Gary Weaver and Linda Klebe Trevino, “Compliance and Values Oriented Ethics Programs: Influences on Employees’ Attitudes and Behavior,” Business Ethics Quarterly, 9(1999), pp. 315-335. Integrity-based ethics programs Combine a concern for the law with an emphasis on employee responsibility for ethical conduct. Establish a climate of self-governance for employees based on general principles as guidelines. Employees told to act with integrity and conduct business dealings in an environment of honesty and fairness. Employees are thought of as social beings, concerned for the well-being of others. Researchers found that these programs fostered lower observed unethical conduct.

14 Contributing to a Culture of Integrity The language of ethical decision-making is used Structural supports and procedures that facilitate ethical decision making have been developed A culture of openness, responsibility, and commitment to multiple business goals has been created and sustained Employee development is valued Source: Kayes, Stirling, and Neilsen, Building Organizational Integrity, Business Horizons, 2007, Vol. 50.

15 What you can do: Bystander Awareness A bystander could be anyone who sees or otherwise becomes aware of behavior that appears worthy of comment or action. ◦Encouraging the positive: to foster productive behavior from all managers and employees, and other members of the organization; to improve morale and collegiality; to build community and foster inclusion ◦Discouraging the negative: to curtail discriminatory, destructive, and illegal behavior. Source: Maureen Scully and Mary Rowe, Bystander Training within Organizations, Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 2009, 2 (1),

16 Why Bystanders? There are often more bystanders to affirm excellent performance than there are supervisors. Responsible bystander may be able to react immediately, when action is safe and appropriate. ◦May be more effective in affirming good behavior or discouraging unacceptable behavior than delayed action. ◦May be more cost-effective than are delayed responses. People planning unethical action do not usually share their plans with formal supervisors. ◦ They may boast or give clues to friends and co- workers.

17 The Cost of Inaction ◦People are affected by the actions of those around them ◦Negative effects of observing unethical behavior  Those who observed sexual harassment, all have lower work and life satisfaction. For women, also affects on job behaviors and psychological wellbeing. ◦ The costs of observing, and thus not addressing, unethical behavior are HIGHER for women! (but also negative for men) ◦Collegiality, and even happiness, may be as contagious as the negative emotions. Source: Miner-Rubino, K., Beyond targets: Vicarious exposure to hostility towards women in the workplace, University of Michigan, 2004 and Schneider, K, Bystander stress: The effect of organizational tolerance of sexual harassment on victims' coworkers, 1996

18 Role of Bystander Inclusion Discovery Cooling Things Down Heating Things Up Body Language/Signaling

19 A Bystander is Not... Judge Avenger Rescuer Enforcer Fixer Know-it-all Final authority Hero/heroine

20 Bystander is…. WitnessConcerned ListenerLearner FacilitatorMediator ObserverPeace-Maker OnlookerHelper FriendPeer

21 What is Bystander Action? Praising Interrupting Shifting Conversation Raising Questions Using Humor Demonstrating Concern

22 What it Takes Moral Courage Tactfulness Willingness to take Risks Awareness of one’s own power or privilege

23 Understanding When Not to Act Waiting for teachable moments Not diluting your message Reduce embarrassment Picking the right battles Too high of a risk ◦He’s Assertive and she’s out of control  Both male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals than on angry male.  Women's emotional reactions were attributed to internal characteristics (e.g., “she is an angry person,”“she is out of control”), men's emotional reactions were attributed to external circumstances. ◦Negative evaluation of women who violate specific norms for behavior Source: Brescoll, V. L.; Uhlmann, E.. Can an Angry Woman Get Ahead? Status Conferral, Gender, and Expression of Emotion in the Workplace. Psychological Science Mar2008, Vol. 19 Issue 3

24 Causes of Moral Muteness Moral talk is viewed as creating these negative effects... because of these assumed attributes of moral talk Threat to HarmonyMoral talk is intrusive and confrontational and invites cycles of mutual recrimination. Threat to EfficiencyMoral talk assumes distracting moralistic forms (praising, blaming, ideological) and is simplistic, inflexible, soft and inexact. Threat to Image of Power and Effect Moral talk is too esoteric and idealistic and lacks rigor and force. Source: The Moral Muteness of Managers. California Management Review, Fall 1989.

25 Reducing Bystander Inaction Practice interventions in a safe space Think through various scenarios in advance Expand menu of possible resources/responses Understand cultural differences in appropriate interventions Learn from others’ experiments Take personal ownership for the situation, instead of just sitting back Become self-aware and understand the norms you and your organization want to uphold Make bystander action more expected and legitimate

26 For the Leader – Creating the Culture Increase detection of unethical activities Helping people understand the gravity of unethical behavior Increasing perceptions of responsibility ◦Being a role model Teaching people how to be a bystander Provide opportunities for practice


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