Ethics AwarenessAndrew L. Urich, J.D.Puterbaugh Professor of Ethics & Legal StudiesSpears School of BusinessOklahoma State Universityaurich@okstate.eduwww.andrewurich.com
Ethics Awareness I am NOT here to moralize. “Awareness” changes human behavior.
Who Am I to Discuss Ethics? I am a hypocrite. I play favorites. I interpret rules to my benefit. I have been known to ignore rules that get in my way. I hate to admit I’m wrong even in those rare situationswhen it looks like I might be. I am much more likely to believe things that benefit me. I like my ideas better just because they’re mine. When things go wrong, I look for someone to share theblame.
Who Am I to Discuss Ethics? Sometimes I think it’s fun to say “no” just because Ihave the power to do so. Here is how I make decisions: I decide what I wantthe answer to be – and then make up the logicalreasons to support my decision. I tend to judge myself by my intentions rather thanmy actions. I tend to judge others by their actions rather thantheir intentions.
Key Points to Remember Human nature is not naturally ethical. Ethics is gray – not black and white. (In other words, you can’t just say you’re an ethical person – andthat’s all there is to it) It is difficult to be ethical all of the time.
Ethical Lapses in the News Enron inflated earnings by $586 million — investors lost $60billion Adelphia founder used corporate assets as collateral for $3.1billion in personal loans — company bankrupt WorldCom overstated profits by $7.1 billion — 17,000 workerslaid off Barings Bank’s Nick Leeson caused his employers collapse in1995 after losing US$1.3 billion in unauthorized derivativestrading.
The Tyco PartyTyco CEO looted company of $600 million
Because yourreputation isworth it!Please rememberEnron’s real problem!Why are we here today?
Case problem 1 The Thrifty V.P.Just following ordersEthics and young peopleEntrapmentDoes everyone have their price?
Ethics Today Times are changing in society! Do ethics change with the times???
Discussion Question What do you use as an ethicalguideline? In other words, how do youdecide what’s ethical? Should ethical decisions be based on“gut instinct” or “conscience?”
Examining Unethical BehaviorOverview of Topics1. It’s easier not to be ethical.2. Beliefs about the ethics of others3. Attitudes toward the company4. Self-delusion (Rationalization)
It’s Easier Not To Be Ethical Easier to do what’s convenient Easier to conform to norms Easier to do what’s profitable Easier to win if you cheat It is very difficult to overcome the challengesof human nature
It’s Easier Not To Be EthicalBut It’s Worth the Trouble Ethics is the key to leadershipand client confidence.“A lie can travel halfway around theworld while the truth is putting onits shoes.”Mark Twain
2. Beliefs About the Ethics ofOthers Everyone thinks like me. People follow the leader. Different ethics for different situations? Do you use the same standard of ethics in all aspectsof your life? For example, is your standard the samewith your family, at church, at work, with personalbusiness, etc.?
3. Attitudes Toward the CompanyThe Need for Ethical Leadership Trust and respect Do managers practice what they preach?(You are the messenger) Employees want to “even things out.” Authority is Out—Influence is In
Trust other peopleDavid Halper, British Sociologist 34% Americans 29% British 31% Mexicans up from 19% in 1983 60% Dutch 68% Scandinavians
Harris Poll on Trust 22% trust media 8% political parties 27% government 12% large corporations Convicts vs. MBAs
Big Idea Do you trust your boss?Productivity and ethical behaviorMercer Management Consulting– 60% of USworkers do not trust their manager tocommunicate honestly Management impacts trust
Showing Respect &Building Trust You will never prove them wrongAdmit to your mistakes “My child choked on a chicken bone” Winston Churchill’s thoughts on the subject
Trust is CompetenceWarren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputationand five minutes to ruin it.” I’m the manager, I can coast while others do thework. Do you have 15 years experience or one year ofexperience 15 times? What do you think of people who cover theirbottoms? What if we train people and they leave?
4. Self-Delusion Rationalization: polite term for self-delusion “The greatest of all faults, I should say, is tobe conscious of none.”--Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) Scottish writer
Guideline forEthical Decision Making1. Is there an applicable law or organizationalpolicy?2. Should I ask about this before acting?3. Have I taken time to think carefully beforeacting?4. Would I disclose my decision to mysupervisor, CEO, mother, etc.?(What if everyone found out?)
Guideline forEthical Decision Making5. Am I avoiding the appearance ofimpropriety?6. Am I defining the problem correctly?7. Am I rationalizing?8. Finally, when in doubt, do I know who tocontact?
The Secret to Happiness Self-delusion Hypocrisy Ignorance
The Secret to HappinessIgnorance is Bliss“People who do things badlyare supremely confident intheir abilities — moreconfident, in fact, than peoplewho do things well. Not onlydo they reach erroneousconclusions and makeunfortunate choices, but theirincompetence robs them ofthe ability to realize it.”Dunning, David Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology December 1999.
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