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Ethics in the Workplace


Skillful leadership and informed employment practices can ... which he has kept off through diet and exercise and he is very proud of this accomplishment. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ethics in the Workplace

Ethics in the Workplace
  • Rick Milter
  • Institute for Applied and Professional
    Ethics Ohio University

Ethics Compliance vs. Commitment
  • Motivation comes not from compliance but from
  • Commitment, like motivation, comes from within.
  • Skillful leadership and informed employment
    practices can establish a climate to nurture such

Wanda Lee, international Journal of Coaching in
Organizations, 2004
Practices that Build Culture
  • Selecting the right people
  • Orienting them to your organization strategy and
  • Developing business literacy that integrates the
    ethics perspective
  • Organizational communication
  • Situational leadership
  • Performance management
  • Training and development
  • Reward systems

Right v. Right
  • It is right to honor a woman's right to make
    decisions affecting her body--and right to
    protect the lives of the unborn.
  • It is right to provide our children with the
    finest public schools available--and right to
    prevent the constant upward ratcheting of state
    and local taxes.
  • It is right to extend equal social services to
    everyone regardless of race or ethnic origin--and
    right to pay special attention to those whose
    cultural backgrounds may have deprived them of
    past opportunities.

How Good People Make Tough Choices Resolving the
Dilemmas of Ethical Living by Rushworth M.
Right v. Right
  • Truth v. Loyalty
  • Individual v. Community
  • Short-term v. Long-term
  • Justice v. Mercy

How Good People Make Tough Choices Resolving the
Dilemmas of Ethical Living by Rushworth M.
Principles for Decision Making
  • Ends-based Thinking
  • Greatest good for greatest number
  • Rule-based Thinking
  • Everyone should act this way
  • Care-based Thinking
  • Do unto others as you would like them to do unto

Case 1
  • At a university hospital, the head chaplain was
    searching for an assistant chaplain. The
    assistant would share the patient visitation
    responsibilities and teach in the Pastoral Care
    Certificate Program. The search committee found
    that by far the best candidate in the pool was
    Smith. Smith was bright, empathetic, and a fine
    teacher. He had an abundance of all the
    qualities needed. Unfortunately, Smiths girth
    also exhibited abundance. He was very fat and
    did wheeze when walking any distance. For this
    reason, the head chaplain refused to further
    consider him.

Case 1 Follow-up
  • About three years ago, the chaplain lost about
    40 pounds, which he has kept off through diet and
    exercise and he is very proud of this
    accomplishment. He admits that he used to feel
    uncomfortable when visiting patients who were
    cachectic due to their disease.

Case 2
  • At a well known university, the administration
    was putting forward some new rules -- rules which
    seemed as though they might have a negative
    effect on some graduate students. A graduate
    student, Matilda, wrote a letter to the editor of
    the local newspaper decrying the new rules. The
    day after the letter appeared, Matildas husband,
    who worked in the office of one of the
    administrators, was called on the carpet and told
    that the letter was offensive and that Matilda
    had shown poor judgment in writing it.

Case 2 Follow-up
  • Matilda and her husband filed a grievance
    claiming that the administrator was trying to
    intimidate Matilda and her husband. At the same
    time, they claimed, the administrator had created
    a hostile workplace. In her defense, the
    administrator said, "I was not part of the group
    that put forward the rules in question. In fact,
    my office has nothing to do with it at all. So, I
    was not being personally defensive. I just
    wanted to point out that it was never a good
    thing to go public with anything but good news
    about the university."

Case 3
  • Tension in the office is a good thing. So is
    competition. That is my office management
    philosophy. In my office, I try to set one
    person against the other. I do this, not because
    I am a malicious person, but rather because I
    think competition insures productivity. This
    means that I try to keep my people at a personal
    distance from each other because I dont want
    them to like each other, since this interferes
    with creating tension.

Case 3 Follow-up
  • This office manager gets high evaluations
    because he is so good at implementing his
    philosophy that no one person realized what has
    been going on. Each thinks "I am the only true
    favorite of the boss." But when Smith, Jones,
    and Robinson finally decide to speak to each
    other, they realize what has been going on. They
    complain to their boss' boss. She says "But look
    at your office's productivity and look at your
    individual merit raises they are much higher
    than average compared to all other units."

Case 4
  • Jones is a brilliant and very hard worker but a
    bit on the testy side. He does not suffer fools
    gladly. At raise time, he finds his raise below
    that of others. He complains and is told that he
    is just not a good team player people find that
    he makes the workplace unpleasant.

Case 4 Follow-up
  • Jones challenges his lower than average merit
    raise claiming that "being a team player" is not
    mentioned anywhere in his job description or in
    the goals, objectives, or mission statement of
    the office.

Guidelines for Managing Ethics in the Workplace
  • Recognize that managing ethics is a process.
  • The bottom line of an ethics program is
    accomplishing preferred behaviors in the
  • The best way to handle ethical dilemmas is to
    avoid their occurrence in the first place.

Guidelines for Managing Ethics in the Workplace
  • Make ethics decisions in groups, and make
    decisions public, as appropriate.
  • Integrate ethics management with other management
  • Use cross-functional teams when developing and
    implementing the ethics management program.

Guidelines for Managing Ethics in the Workplace
  • Value forgiveness.
  • Note that trying to operate ethically and making
    a few mistakes is better than not trying at all.
  • From Complete Guide to Ethics Management An
    Ethics Toolkit for Managers -- Carter McNamara
  • http//

Future Focus for Ethical Leaders
  • The dogmas of the quiet past will not work in the
    turbulent future. As our cause is new, so must
    we think and act anew. -- Abraham Lincoln 1860
  • I dont skate to where the puck is, I skate to
    where the puck is going to be. Wayne Gretsky
  • Why dont they change the speed limits? --
    Sybren Gijselaers 2002

For more information contact …
  • Kathleen Evans-Romaine (
  • office 740 593 9802