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Why good people do bad things: Temptations, ethical risks and resulting flags

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Why good people do bad things: Temptations, ethical risks and resulting flags Prof. Mollie Painter-Morland Acting Director: Institute for Business an Professional ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why good people do bad things: Temptations, ethical risks and resulting flags


1
Why good people do bad things Temptations,
ethical risks and resulting flags
  • Prof. Mollie Painter-Morland
  • Acting Director Institute for Business an
    Professional Ethics, Chicago, USA
  • Associate Director Center for Business and
    Professional Ethics, University of Pretoria,
    South Africa

2
Outline
  • Risk from an ethical perspective
  • The roots of ethics failures
  • Organisational ethical risk
  • Focus on organisational culture as major area of
    risk
  • Red flags

3
Ethics
  • Balancing

THE GOOD
OTHERS
ME
4
Where does it go wrong?
  • Ethical risk entails
  • Loss of self Agency questions
  • Loss of concern for others
  • Faulty perceptions of the good

5
Loss of self Agency questions
  • Who am I? What informed who I am and what I
    believe?
  • Where am I? Role conflicts, time pressures,
    authority of others
  • Those aspects that influence me most are those I
    am not aware of

Life in organisations has a profound influence
6
Loss of concern for others
  • Rationalizations of self-interest/ egoism
  • Kla-pot/ complaint-syndrome
  • Paralysis I cant make a difference
  • Passing the buck
  • Minimalist rule-obedience/ Lack of moral
    imagination

Life in organisations has a profound influence
7
Faulty conceptions of the good
  • The Good based on values
  • Values enduring beliefs about preferable states
    of existence
  • Values what we consider valuable, worthy of
    pursuit

Life in organisations has a profound influence
8
Organisational ethical risk
Institutional factors
General organisational culture
Individual factors
9
Monitoring ethical risks
Document assessment Analyses of control
environment HR policies
Institutional factors
Surveys Focus groups Document assessment
Individual factors
General organisational culture
Vetting Integrity testing Whistle-blowing
reports Personnel files
10
Rotten apples? Or rotten barrels?
  • Individuals
  • Psychometric tests to determine white-collar
    criminal traits
  • Greed
  • Ambition
  • Need
  • Sudden life-style changes
  • Institutional factors
  • Mixed messages about acceptable behavior
  • Performance management systems
  • Double standards
  • Arbitrary decisions
  • Gaps in policy environments
  • Red-tape

Culture
11
What is organisational culture?
  • Organisational culture the shared values of the
    organisation
  • Its accepted system of meaning or assumptions
  • How we think, feel, perceive in an organisation
  • Organisational climate The visible expression of
    the organisational culture

12
Organisational culture
  • Culture the way we do things around here , i.e.
    how we perceive, think, feel
  • How we do things based on our beliefs about is
    valuable, i.e. our shared values
  • Values creates a shared sense of what is
    meaningful, important, necessary
  • Compliance safeguards certain values, but cant
    contain what remains unspoken
  • BUT, in most cases, much what we believe goes
    unsaid and unwritten

13
Typical climate assessments and its problems
  • Surveys/ climate studies
  • Information may be function-specific
  • Compliance checklists
  • Focus groups
  • Survey fatigue
  • Problem of job-specific jargon and tools
  • Difficult to measure perceptions
  • Expensive and time-consuming

14
Elements of culture
  • Values beliefs about what is valuable
  • Practices types of social interaction,
    ceremonies
  • Artefacts things that are valued

15
Challenges we face
  • Tacit knowledge hard to measure
  • Observation of behaviour necessary
  • Physical environment equally important
  • Values
  • Practices
  • Artifacts

16
New ideas Seeing the problem
  • HOW?
  • Narrative assessments
  • Jokes Many a true word spoken in jest
  • What do we spend money on?
  • What do we reward and how?
  • Who are our heroes?
  • How do we do things around here?
  • WHAT
  • Culture shared values
  • Values what we care about, what is valuable
    both physical and symbolic objects
  • Virtues values that became behavioral habits

17
Categories of red flags
  • People
  • Financial pressures
  • Life-style changes
  • Strange work behavior
  • Processes
  • Sketchy documentation
  • Trying to rush decisions or cut corners
  • Rationalizations of the way we do things around
    here

18
What does cultural analysis add?
  • People
  • Jokes reveal peoples fears and anxiety
  • Values artifacts may reveal life-style changes
  • Who are the heroes of the department?
  • Processes
  • A culture of cutting corners becomes apparent
  • Rationalizations of the way we do things around
    here reveal risk areas

19
Implications
  • Go beyond compliance check-lists
  • LISTEN to what is SAID From water cooler
    conversation, memos, to strategy discussions
  • LOOK at what is DONE Do budgets, staff
    remuneration, and the physical environment
    reflect what the organisation cares about?
  • REFLECT Think about which stories should be
    repeated as the way we do things around here

20
Opportunities
  • Take the risk of interpreting, guessing,
    anticipating gt even disagreement is valuable
  • Tap into what people really care about Getting
    everyone to ask the WHY? question more why are
    we doing this, why is it important?
  • Work across various functional areas leverage
    the cross-functional information to get funds and
    capacity

21
In conclusion
  • To read/ see/ hear ethical risk is hard
    work
  • Skills in listening, observing, analyzing tacit
    messages and finding ways to measure it would be
    important
  • Focus on organisational culture becomes an
    opportunity to redefine professional ethics
  • LONG LIVE LIVING VALUES!

22
Questions or comments?
  • If something comes up later
  • mpainter_at_depaul.edu
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