Ethics AwarenessManaging for an Ethical Workplace OGE Energy Spring 2013 Andrew L. Urich Puterbaugh Professor of Ethics & Legal Studies Spears School of Business Oklahoma State University firstname.lastname@example.org www.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 am wrong even in those rare situations when 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.
Who Am I to Discuss Ethics? Sometimes I think it’s fun to say “no” just because I have the power to do so. Here is how I make decisions: I decide what I want the answer to be– and then make up the logical reasons to support my decision. I tend to judge myself by my intentions rather than my actions. I tend to judge others by their actions rather than their 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–and that’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 $60 billion. Adelphia founder used corporate assets as collateral for $3.1 billion in personal loans—company went bankrupt. WorldCom overstated profits by $7.1 billion—17,000 workers laid off. Barings Bank’s Nick Leeson caused his employers collapse in 1995 after losing US$1.3 billion in unauthorized derivatives trading.
The Tyco PartyTyco CEO looted company of $600 million
Discussion Question What do you use as an ethical guideline? In other words, how do you decide what’s ethical? Should ethical decisions be based on “gut instinct” or “conscience?”
Examining Unethical Behavior Overview of Topics1. It’s easier not to be ethical.2. Beliefs about the ethics of others3. Attitudes toward the company4. Self-delusion (Rationalization)
1. It’s Easier Not To Be Ethical Easier to do what’s convenient Easier to conform with the norms Easier to do what’s profitable Easier to win if you cheat It is very difficult to overcome the challenges of human nature. CRITICAL THINKING
1. It’s Easier Not To Be Ethical But It’s Worth the Trouble Ethics is the key to leadership and influence. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain
2. Beliefs About the Ethics of Others Everyone thinks like me. People follow the leader. Different ethics for different situations? Do you use the same standard of ethics in all aspects of your life? For example, is your standard the same with your family, at church, at work, with personal business, etc.?
3. Attitudes Toward the Company Do managers practice what they preach? (It’s the perception that counts) “The fish rots from the head down.” ~Sir Andrew Louis Employees want to “even things out.” Authority is OUT—Influence is IN.
4. Self-delusion Rationalization: Polite term for self- delusion “The greatest of all faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” ~ Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) Scottish writer “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Secret to Happiness Self-delusion Hypocrisy Ignorance
The Secret to Happiness Ignorance is Bliss “People who do things badly are supremely confident in their abilities—more confident, in fact, than people who do things well. Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.” Dunning, David Journal of Personality and Social Psychology December 1999.
Guideline for Ethical Decision Making1. Is there an applicable law or OGE policy?2. Should I ask about this before acting?3. Have I taken time to think carefully before acting?4. Would I disclose my decision to my supervisor, CEO, mother, etc.? (What if everyone found out?)
Guideline for Ethical Decision Making5. Am I avoiding the appearance of impropriety?6. Am I defining the problem correctly?7. Am I rationalizing?8. Finally, when in doubt, do I know who to contact?
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