In single-loop methods, a new action strategy is used to realize the same governing ethics value. Thus, there can be learning, in the sense that individuals or groups may devise new methods to negotiate outcomes, but the learning is referred to as “single-loop.” This means that through errors or mismatch of methods and results learning takes place and behaviors are changed.
In double-loop methods, both governing values and action strategies are held open to questioning and learning through dialog.
Both single- and double-loop methods frame ethical problems as located primarily at the level of individuals. In triple-loop methods, however, the underlying cultural belief systems and traditions are held open to questioning. Triple-loop methodologies hold the embedded tradition system both open to critique and as a partner in mutual learning. Through negotiation at the triple-loop level, individuals beliefs are reexamined and behaviors are questioned. It thus includes both double- and single-loop considerations.
Single-Loop, Win-Lose Methods
Use forcing methodology
Pros : Short-run effectiveness: more peaceful, cooperative, constructive, and sophisticated methods may be ineffective in particular situations.
Cons : Destructiveness with respect to internal organization cooperation
The purpose of an organization is to enable us to do more through cooperation than we can atomistically
Top-Down Ethics Generals
Ethics Generals are top managers who unilaterally write ethics rules and force compliance through punishment
Examples of punishment
What makes this “single-loop?”
Notes on Ethics Generals
Ethics Generals view workers as naturally lazy and in need of supervision. This is referred to as “Theory X” management, which was first described in 1960 by McGregor. Theory Y management is a more participative form.
How can a boss punish his or her subordinates?
Punishment: e.g., firing, denial of unemployment benefits after firing, criminal and civil prosecution, demotion, transfer, loss of promotion opportunities, suspension, reduction in pay, lower salary increments, public embarrassment
Theory X is still practiced in some industries and countries.
This is single-loop in that the boss does not hold his driving ethical values open to discussion with subordinates.
Bottom-Up Ethics Guerillas
Mirror image of the Ethics General
What makes this single-loop?
Notes on Ethics Guerillas
The word “guerilla” comes from Spanish and refers to individuals who engage in sabotage of a larger system. We use this term to mean individuals who attempt to change unethical behavior in their organizations .
Mirror image of the Ethics General, like a Myers-Briggs shadow, but unlike the Ethics General, tend to be more focused on a particular boss’s behavior
This is single-loop in that the employee does not think it possible to discuss ethics with the boss he thinks is initiating or permitting unethical behavior
What can Ethics Guerillas do?
Secretly blow the whistle inside the organization
Quietly blow the whistle to a responsible higher-level manager
Secretly threaten the offender with blowing the whistle
Secretly threaten an ethically responsible manager with blowing the whistle outside the organization
Publicly threaten a responsible manager with blowing the whistle
Sabotage the implementation of the unethical behavior
Publicly blow the whistle outside the organization
Strengths of Single-Loop Forcing Methods
Quick behavioral effectiveness
Focuses on behavior, and lack of understanding is not always the problem
Relatively safe for users
Limitations of Single-Loop Forcing Methods
No opportunity to learn with others about what is more or less ethical
Might teach narrow, routinized, unthinking obedience more than individual or organizational ethical learning
Both cooperative relationships and the organization can be damaged
Single-Loop, Win-Win Methods
Mutual Gain Negotiating: Parties agree to a deal because each gets enough of what they want to make the deal worthwhile for each of them.
Case: Oskar Schindler: German owner of a confiscated Jewish factory in Poland made a series of win-win deals to protect and rescue his Jewish workers. In exchange for the Jews, Schindler supplied the Nazis with plenty of black market cognac, liquor, food, diamonds, and parties paid for with the factory’s profits. He closed deals with the phrase, “And everybody’s happy!” Win for Schindler in that he kept his factory and workers. Win for the Nazis in that they received these black market products. Win for the Jews in that they survived and received relatively humane treatment working for Schindler.
This is Fisher and Ury’s method. There are 4 components to their method: (1) Separate the people from the problem (2) Focus on interests, not positions, (3) Invent options for mutual gain and (4) Insist on using objective criteria. “BATNA” is a tool used in mutual gain negotiating that refers to your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” If it is clear that you are not going to negotiate an agreement, be prepared to compromise with your BATNA.
Single-Loop, Win-Win Methods
Persuasion: Show through language and/or illustration why an idea or behavior should be adopted. Persuader wins in that the other adopts the idea or behavior s/he is advocating. Persuaded person wins in that s/he now agrees with that idea or behavior.
Single-Loop, Win-Win Methods
Minimal Peaceful Coexistence: Point is to reduce losses , not achieve mutual gains, as in mutual gain negotiating.
Strengths of Win-Win Methods
Can be both effective and conducive to organizational cooperation
Can be effective without requiring belief conversion among individuals with different driving ethical values
Can be effective across cultures with different ethical values
Can be effective with individuals who learn more through personal experience than through analytic reasoning
Limitations of Win-Win Methods
May foster little, if any, ethical learning or organization culture development
Double-Loop, Dialog Methods
Iterative Socratic Dialog
How are these double-loop?
Leverage building: Build a type of power that the offender is vulnerable to and then explicitly or implicitly threaten to use that power against him or her unless he or she gives in to what you want.
Good guy-bad guy: ( Good cop-bad cop) “Bad guy” makes extreme demands and appears threatening. Good guy offers to make a deal that he or she can convince the bad guy to accept.
Iterative Socratic Dialog (“I” and “Other”)
(1) The I’s first motion toward the other is respectful and friendly.
(2) The I asks the Other(s) for a potential solution and helps to consider the positives of that solution.
(3) The I asks the Other(s) to help consider the negatives of the potential solution and to iteratively consider other potential solutions, in an attempt to retain the positives and reduce the negatives of earlier solutions.
(4) The process continues iteratively until we can’t improve the evolving transformed solution.
Strengths of Double-Loop Dialogic Methods
Can help build or sustain an ethical organizational culture.
Can result in belief conversion toward the ethical.
Can as a by-product effectively produce integrative, win-win results.
Limitations of Double-Loop Dialogic Methods
People may understand what is ethical but act unethically for personal or organizational gain or fear of punishment.
Some organizational environments discourage dialog.
Dialog can expose good people to retaliatory harm.