Methods that address ethics problems
between individuals, and between and
within teams and organizations
The necessity of negotiation
• Teams are ubiquitous. When do we need to
negotiate? Used car, Ugli Orange case, Class teams
– Between individuals
– Inter-team negotiation
– Intra-team negotiation
• The need for ethical behavior
Notes on the Ethics Framework
• 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
• 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
Single-Loop, Win-Lose Methods
Use forcing methodology
• Pros: Short-run effectiveness: more peaceful,
cooperative, constructive, and sophisticated
methods may be ineffective in particular
• Cons: Destructiveness with respect to internal
– The purpose of an organization is to enable us
to do more through cooperation than we can
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
– Mirror image of the Ethics General, like a Myers-Briggs shadow, but
unlike the Ethics General, tend to be more focused on a particular
– 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
What can Ethics Guerillas do?
Secretly blow the whistle inside the organization
Quietly blow the whistle to a responsible higher-level
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
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
• Strengths of Win-Win Methods
– Can be both effective and conducive to organizational
– Can be effective without requiring belief conversion
among individuals with different driving ethical values
– Can be effective across cultures with different ethical
– Can be effective with individuals who learn more
through personal experience than through analytic
• Limitations of Win-Win Methods
– May foster little, if any, ethical learning or
organization culture development
Double-Loop, Dialog Methods
• Iterative Socratic Dialog
• Action-Science Dialog
• Action-Inquiry 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.
• Extreme demands
Iterative Socratic Dialog
(“I” and “Other”)
(1) The I’s first motion toward the other is respectful and
(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
– Can result in belief conversion toward the ethical.
– Can as a by-product effectively produce integrative,
• Limitations of Double-Loop Dialogic Methods
– People may understand what is ethical but act
unethically for personal or organizational gain or fear
– Some organizational environments discourage dialog.
– Dialog can expose good people to retaliatory harm.