Leadership and Ethics


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The presentation will address fundamental sections of “Ethics” and analyze leadership in combination to ethics by scrutinizing different mediums where leaders actions to a situation displayed questionable ethics, and same time good ethical actions brought questions of legalities.

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Leadership and Ethics

  1. 1. BySamanga Amarasinghe
  2. 2. Introduction The presentation will address fundamental sections of “Ethics” and analyze leadership in combination to ethics by scrutinizing different mediums where leaders actions to a situation displayed questionable ethics, and same time good ethical actions brought questions of legalities. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 2
  3. 3. Introduction Cont. Key points addressed in the presentation  What is ethics  What are morals  What is legal  Business Ethics  Governmental Ethics  Military Ethics Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 3
  4. 4. What are Ethics According to Peter Northouse (2010), “The word ethics has its roots in Greek word Ethos, which means “customs,” “conduct,” or “character.” Ethics is concerned with the kinds of values and morals an individual or society finds desirable or appropriate” (p. 342). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 4
  5. 5. What are Ethics Cont. Additionally according to Peter Northouse (2010), “Furthermore, ethics is concerned with virtuousness of individuals and their motives” (p. 342) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 5
  6. 6. What is Unethical  Being unethical is going against the customs, values and morals of a society.  For example eating with your mouth open or eating with your hands in USA is unethical as it disgust people here. It is unethical to eat with fork and spoon in Sri Lanka among locals. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 6
  7. 7. Is there a universal Ethicalstandpoint? Based on the definition of ethics, what is considered as ethical, differ from one group to another. Therefore there no universal ethics which everyone agree on, and practice as one. Example : Cannibalism is not something practiced in the US, however, in Papua New Guinea islands among the head hunters Cannibalism is not abnormal. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 7
  8. 8. What is Morality  Definition of immorality like ethics derive from the term moral, according to Jeffrie G. Murphy (1970), “For morality, as defined thus far, is a description of the activity of a fully, free fully rational noumenal being in a community of peers-an ideal of pure reason” (p. 69). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 8
  9. 9. Moral Relativism According to James Kellenberger (2001):  Moral relativism, as relativism regarding morality, may have yet one of several foci. Morality-the phenomenon of human morality, which is not less than our moral lives, is complex. True, if we take our guidance from philosophical reflection on “theories of obligations,” we might get the idea that morality is essentially a matter of right (and wrong) action. (p. 22) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 9
  10. 10. Moral Absolutes  According to Peg O’Conner (2008),  “Moral absolutism involves objectively absolute rightness, goodness, and justice. Moral absolutism is the thesis that there are basic demands that apply to all moral agents (p. 149).  Therefore, in conclusion, moral absolutes are the foundational moralities, which many will argue as the basic moral principles Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 10
  11. 11. What is Legal  Definitions of legal according to Merriam Webster dictionary (2011), “Recognized or made effective by a court of law as distinguished from a court of equity ” (p. n.p) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 11
  12. 12. Can being Legal always be Moralor ethical? No, legality falls under a set of rules written one a piece of paper, and holds the followers of the law accountable to what is written But morality and Ethics are not written everywhere, instead it is based on the actions of an individual and the impact of the action faced by another or others. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 12
  13. 13. Can being Legal always be Moralor ethical? Cont..  During the third Reich, it was legal to have death camps, concentration camps and Inhuman torture methods in questioning suspects (Edouard, 1982). But based on the executors of that law legal, ethical and moral aspects spoke differently.  According to Rudolf Hoess (1959), “The blood bath is still before my eyes. I find it incredible that human beings could ever turn into such beasts” (p. 135). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 13
  14. 14. Do Ethics Depend on Morality? Yes, morality based on Jeffrie G. Murphy (1970), “is a description of the activity of a fully, free fully rational noumenal being in a community of peers-an ideal of pure reason” (p. 69). Therefore, if one does not care about their surrounding nor has a sense of the best interest of others in their mind they cannot be ethical. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 14
  15. 15. Can Law avoid Religion?  The 10 commandments, or the 5 disciplines for the laity being done so perfect in serving as an executive summary as well as a detail report. Creating any law avoiding it completely would render impossible.  The foundation of any religion, covers the basis of any law, shall not kill, steal, lie etc. (Smith, 1876). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 15
  16. 16. Question of Ethics in Real Life My Lai Massacre Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 16
  17. 17. My Lai Massacre On March 16 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War Charlie Company 200 infantry battalion 1st platoon under the command of 2nd LT William L Calley, was called to orders in eliminating the retreated members of the 48th battalion of the NLF (National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam) (Oliver, 2006). These members of the NLF known by the GI’s as the VC’s were suspected to have carried out the Tet offensive in January 1968, and according to the information received by US military Intelligence they have taken shelter in the village of May Lai (Oliver, 2006). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 17
  18. 18. My Lai Massacre Cont  The platoon under the command of 2nd LT William L Calley went into the village and created a reign of terror by killing civilians and animals alike with grenades, machine guns as well as burning the villages residences (Oliver, 2006). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 18
  19. 19. Ethics of My Lai Massacre Are the soldiers who committed the My Lai Massacre guilty of a planned execution or was it a mistake among many? Therefore the Situation has so many gray areas, which needs to be analyzed before a judgment could be presented.  Who is accountable for the Massacre?  Why did they do what they did?  What is illegal to kill during the war? Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 19
  20. 20. Points of Observation for finding ethicsfor the My Lai Massacre  First being the mentality of the soldiers facing an unseen enemy day and night.  the event occurred after the US soldiers and high command has had observed the devastating impact of the VC war machine during the Tet offensive of January 1968.  Additionally the knowledge of these VC during the day being just friendly farmer and by night the feared unseen guerilla soldiers also haunted these young soldiers (Karnow, 1983, p. 545). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 20
  21. 21. Points of Observations for findingethics for the My Lai Massacre  The nature of the soldiers physical condition and social conditions, the soldiers were over worked most times and were living a monotonies life in the bushes day and night, the soldiers were also was observing many hardships and bureaucracies of military life.  In addition, some being in Nam for more than a week had many a bad news received from their loved once back home of deaths, separations, misses etc. moreover, as the nature of any war, many social knowledge that these young soldiers have observed back home were put to test Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 21
  22. 22. Points of Observations for findingethics for the My Lai Massacre  According to Phillip Davidson (1988):  The enemy refused contact, and evaded American search Parties. Frustration set in as the Allied units redoubled their efforts to get at the elusive enemy. Still, United states casualties continued, produced mostly by ubiquitous mines and booby traps. So American soldiers were being injured and killed by a seemingly invisible, but ever- present, enemy. Soon Vietnamese civilians, who could be seen, became suspects, and in such angry frustration, My Lai occurred. (p. 617) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 22
  23. 23. Points of Observations for finding ethicsfor the My Lai Massacre  According to Phillip Davidson (1988):  The decrease in intensity of combats produced inaction, boredom, and lethargy in many American units. Boredom and inaction are breeding grounds for lowered morale and discipline, and with low morale, increased problems with drugs, alcohol, civilian relations and discipline.  A system of Justice which provided for a prompt trial, and where appropriate, swift punishment, might have contained these disciplinary problems. No such system existed in Vietnam. The caseload was staggering. Key witnesses either rotated back to the United States or were unavailable due to death or operational requirements. (Davidson, 1988, p. 617) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 23
  24. 24. Points of Observations for findingethics for the My Lai Massacre  A white private is called to take orders from an African American Sergeant but outside Vietnam, the Sergeant cannot eat, socialize or drink at the same locations and was considered lower than the private was.  The constant challenging of the authorities which was another being a big part of the sixties mentality created a problems in discipline (Davidson, 1988, p. 616 Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 24
  25. 25. Points of Observations for finding ethics for the My Lai Massacre  High command also exercised whatever it takes methodologies to end the VC retaliations.  Operation Rolling Thunder the American bombing campaign against North Vietnam which started from March 2nd 1965 to November 1st 1968, and devastated and cause many equal damages to the VC and civilians alike on the ground.  Moreover within the years through the campaign close to 640,000 tons of bombs were dropped (Gifford, 2011, p. 21). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 25
  26. 26. Conclusion on Ethics of My Lai  During the same Era in US history a boy named Emmett Till was brutally beaten and drowned for touching and or making a comment to a white lady, and the judicial system found the guilty party to be innocent (Whitfield, 1988).  Furthermore, African Americans were considered lower humans and were punished by lynching or beatings in regular basis, in comparison what is the difference. Why was May Lai a big deal when Lynching was legal in one human life greater than another was? Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 26
  27. 27. Conclusion on Ethics of My Lai  In observing all these aspects surrounding the massacre of My Lai, and observing the event from the mentality of the time, and the events that led to the attack it may seem another mistake than a deliberate and Planned massacre.  Was killing by Air through Bombs and Napalm ethical than killing with grenades and machine guns?  Hence, the ethics of the May Lai massacre again falls under the situation. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 27
  28. 28. Question of Ethics in Real Life The Donner Party Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 28
  29. 29. The Donner Party  The Donner party consisted of eighty-seven members male and female from several families who embarked on a journey to California in 1846.  Due their delayed start the Donner party was stuck in Truckee Lake, the major obstacle for them was the constant snowing on top of Sierra Nevada Mountains, which ranged from five to six feet (Colbert, 1998, p. 192) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 29
  30. 30. The Donner Party Cont In December 1846 the party dispatched seventeen members to complete the passage and bring help, but when the party reached the Truckee camp many had died and the other had opt to cannibalism as means of survival (Colbert, 1998, p. 192). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 30
  31. 31. The Donner Party Cont Patrick Breen according to Colbert (1998),  “Marthas Jaw swelled with the toothache; hungry times in camp, plenty hides but folks will not eat them we eat them with tolerable good appetite” (p. 195). Therefore, it is evident that in camp Truckee there was another option for food, which was the hides, but those who ate their dead relatives decided the action based on personal preference (Colbert, 1998, pp. 194-195). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 31
  32. 32. The Donner Party Cont What should the Donner party have done? Let their loved once who are living die, in preserving an ethical standpoint? Should they have been condemned for eating dead human flesh for the survival of the living? Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 32
  33. 33. Business Ethics Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 33
  34. 34. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002  With dot com collapsing and, companies as the Enron Cooperation and WorldCom due to bad business practices becoming bankrupt and investors who invested in them having to lose their life savings, called to analyze the way cooperation’s addressed business  As a response to these types of disasters, fraudulent situations and bad business practices, the US congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (De Vay, 2006, p. 1) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 34
  35. 35. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002Cont.  Sox has five sections, all designed to make the organization accountable to their statements, as well as provide valid information to the investors. ○ For example, Act Section 401 in summary address, that the financial statements of any cooperation or business are published by issuers are required to be accurate and presented in a manner that does not contain incorrect statements or admit to state material information (Associates, 2003, p. n.p). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 35
  36. 36. Can there be a Ethical Businessman? Yes, any business leader can be successful and ethical at the same time, business leaders in observing their obligations to any organization is the ability to negotiate, negotiate with the employees, and the customers with the product. In both of the key aspects where a business leaders negotiate they deal with humans in both ends, thus beyond the norm, an ethical business leader will be graduated success to himself as well as the organization Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 36
  37. 37. Challenges in Ethics Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 37
  38. 38. Henry Ford’s Negotiation With theGermans  Henry Ford began negotiating with the Germans in 1920, which led to GM taking over the German Opel Company, and Ford also establishing a branch in Germany enabling exchanging technologies that benefited both nations (Appleby, 2010, p. 298).  Findings of a U.S Army investigator, indicated to Ford cooperation supplying the Germans with essential materials as Rubber in 1945. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 38
  39. 39. Henry Ford’s Negotiation With theGermans According to CNN U.S (1998): ○ Spelich said between 1936 and 1939, Fords German unit, Ford Werke AG, did in fact participate in a barter program sanctioned by the German government that brought in raw materials and generated hard currency for the cash strapped nation. But he said the Army report misrepresented the situation. Before the outbreak of war, local managers at the Ford Werke medium duty truck plant in Cologne, Germany, also refused to share certain information with Ford officials back at the companies headquarters in Dearborn. (p. n.p) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 39
  40. 40. Henry Ford’s Negotiation With theGermans  In observing the scenario of Ford and the German relation, in depth it can be assessed as a business deal, which Ford started in expanding his organization, and continued to maintain some relations despite the war situation between the nations.  Hence, In observing this based on the information obtained, Fords relations with Germany was a deal made with a strong business ambition, which would profit himself as well as the US, thus it cannot be observed as an unethical act by Henry Ford. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 40
  41. 41. President Truman and the A-Bomb  President Truman’s individual observations through his written works, according to Steven Mintz (2003), “I have to decide Japanese strategy,” he wrote in his diary- shall we invade Japan or shall we bomb the blockade”(p. 240). Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 41
  42. 42. President Truman and the A-BombCont.  President Truman According to Steven Mintz (2003):  It is my responsibility as commander-in-chief of the armed forces to see that our country is able to defend itself against any possible aggressor. I have directed the Atomic Energy Commission to continue its work on all forms of atomic weapons, including the so-called hydrogen or super-bomb.(p. 240) Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 42
  43. 43. Conclusion In observing the vital aspects of Ethics, Morals and Law, Ethics and Morals standout as the most important segments in dealing with humanism. However, despite sounding easy in coming to a conclusion on ethics and morals, they are never black and white. Like any philosophy, Ethics and Morals have many shades, thus in taking action to an ethical or moral dilemma, one must observed all the facts pertaining to the dilemma. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 43
  44. 44. References Anderson, D. L. (2011). The Columbia History of the Vietnam War. New York: Colombia University Press. Associates, A. H. (2003). Sarbanes-Oxley Act Section 401. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002: http://www.soxlaw.com/s401.htm Byers, D. (2008). Ethics and Negotiation. Bellevue, Nebraska, United States. Byers, D. (2010, June 07). Critical Thinking and Change. Omaha, NE, United States. Byers, D. (2011, June). Using Critical Thinking to Analyze Arguments. Omaha, NE, United States. Colbert, D. (1998). Eyewitness to America. New York: Vintage Books. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 44
  45. 45. Reference Dalton, D. (1993). Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action. New York: Columbia University Press. Dalton, D. (1993). Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action. New York: Columbia University Press. Dante. (1903). Dantes Inferno and other translations. (W. Edward, Ed.) London, London, United Kingdom: Macmillan And Co., Limited. Davidson, P. B. (1988). Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975. New York: Oxford University Press. De Silva, K. M. (1981). A history of Sri Lanka. London: C.Hurst & Co.Ltd.,. De Vay, D. L. (2006). The Effectiveness of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in Preventing and Detecting Fraud in Financial Statements. Boca Raton: Dissertations.com. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 45
  46. 46. Reference Dear, I., & Foot, M. R. (1995). The Oxford companion to World War II. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edouard, C. (1982). Reinhard Heydrich: The Chilling Story of the Man Who Masterminded the Nazi Death Camps. New York: Military Heritage Press. Evoice. (2009, December 11). Evoice. Retrieved June 13, 2011, from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/evoicemarketing?v=Wm3uCLUrLz4&featu re=pyv&ad=5316136577&kw=business%20idea Fowler, W. W. (1891). Julius Caesar, and the foundation of the Roman Imperial System. London: G.P. Putnams Sons. Geiger, W. (1912). The Mahavamsa or The Great Chronicle of Ceylon. London: Oxford University Press. Gifford, C. (2011). Why Did the Vietnam War Happen? New York: Gareth Stevenson Publications. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 46
  47. 47. Reference Hales, S. D. (2011). A Companion to Relativism. Malden: Wiley Blackwell. Harman, G., & Thomson, J. J. (2003). Moral relativism and moral objectivity. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers. Hoess, R. (1959). Commandant of Auschwitz. (J. Neugroschel, & C. F. Gibbon, Trans.) London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Hopkins, W. B. (2008). The Pacific War: The Strategy, Politics, and Players That Won the War. Minneapolis: Zenith Press. Hull, B. (2011, June 1). UPDATE 1-Sri Lanka union protester dies, police chief steps down. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/01/srilanka-unions- idUSL3E7H12SZ20110601 Hutchison, E. D. (2008). Dimensions of Human Behavior: Person and Environment. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Ingram, C. (2003). In the Footsteps of Gandhi: Conversations with Spiritual Social Activists. Berkeley: Parallax Press. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 47
  48. 48. Reference Jackson, T. F., & King (Jr.), M. L. (2007). From civil rights to human rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the struggle. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Karnow, S. (1983). Vietnam a History. Middlesex: Penguin Books. Machiavelli, N. (1985). The prince. (H. Mansfield, Trans.) London: University of Chicago Press. Manheimer, A. S. (2005). Martin Luther King Jr: dreaming of equality. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. Marchand, L. J. (1998). In Napoleons shadow. San Francisco: Proctor Jones. Men, E. (2010, April 15). Established Men - Shrinking Man. Retrieved June 14, 2011, from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hhZc7GA42o Merriam, W. (2011). Absolutism. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from Mrriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolutism Mintz, S. (2003). A History of Us: Sourcebook and Index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Murphy, J. G. (1970). Kant: the philosophy of right. London: Macmillan Co. Northhouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 48
  49. 49. Reference OConnor, P. (2008). Morality and our complicated form of life: feminist Wittgensteinian metaethics. University Park: Pennsylvania State University. Oliver, K. (2006). The My Lai massacre in American history and memory. Manchester: Manchester University Press. shavesavings. (2010, May 6). AXE showe Gel. Retrieved June 14, 2011, from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOoJq2DRjMk Smith, J. E. (Ed.). (1876). The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. Hartford: American Publishing Company. Sri Lanka Army - Commandos, VIP Protection . (2009, Dec 10). Retrieved June 06, 2011, from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6JCWTFTnk4&feature=related SriLankaForces. (2009, Dec 12). Sri Lanka Army: Commandos VIP Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 49
  50. 50. Reference Protection . Retrieved June 06, 2011, from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR3rGkPPgFE&NR=1 U.S., C. (1998, November 30). GM, Ford deny collaboration with Nazis during WWII. Retrieved June 6, 2011, from CNN U.S.: http://articles.cnn.com/1998-11- 30/us/9811_30_autos.holocaust_1_ford-plant-henry-ford-ford-relationship?_s=PM:US Webster, M. (2011). Ethics. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from An Encyclopaedia Britannica Compan yMerriam Webster:Online Dictionary: http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/ethics?show=0&t=1308602746 Webster, M. (2011). illegal. Retrieved June 06, 2011, from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illegal Webster, M. (2011). Law. Retrieved June 06, 2011, from Merriam Webster Online Disctionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/law Webster, M. (2011). Moral. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from An Encyclopedia Britannica Company Merriam Wesbter:Online Dictionary: http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/moral Whitfield, S. J. (1988). A death in the Delta: the story of Emmett Till. Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 50
  51. 51. Reference Young, B. M. (1991). The Vietnam Wars. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Young, M. B., & Buzzanco, R. (2002). A Companion to the Vietnam War. Malden: Blackwell. Assignment 8.1-Amarasinghe 51