Coming up… • Today • Thought question • In no more than two sentences, describe “teleopathy” and explain why Goodpaster thinks it’s such a big deal. • Monday (2/07): • Papers due – PLDP Section 1 (Personal Leadership Assessment)
Ethics and Leadership “That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important cause of business frustration and failure.” -- Peter F. Drucker “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.” -- Henry Ford “The only real difference between executives at Enron and those at most other big companies, is that those at Enron got caught.” -- Some Random Student
What’s right? Bill, one of your subordinates, has done a great job for over a year; he got the job by claiming to have a college degree. You learn Bill actually never graduated. Do you dismiss him for a false resume? Do you overlook the false claim, since Bill is otherwise conscientious and honorable (and has done good work), and dismissal might ruin Bill’s career?
What’s right? You discover that the chemical plant you manage is creating slightly more water pollution in a nearby lake than is legally permitted. Revealing the problem will bring negative publicity to the plant, hurt the lakeside town’s resort business, and scare the community. Solving the problem will cost the company well over $100,000. It is unlikely that outsiders will discover the problem. The violation poses no danger whatsoever to people; at most, it will endanger a small number of fish. Do you reveal the problem despite the cost to his company, or do you consider the problem as a mere technicality and disregard it?
What’s right? You are a 52-year-old middle manager with children in college. You discover that the owners of your company are cheating the government out of tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxes. You are the only employee in a position to know this. Do you report the owners to the Internal Revenue Service at the risk of endangering your own livelihood, or do you disregard the discovery to protect your family’s livelihood?
What does it mean to be a “good” leader? Good has two meanings: • Technically good (effectiveness) • Morally good (ethics) What is the relationship between ethics and effectiveness?
“Ethics or excellence?” • What’s the main point of the article? • What does the author see as “the principal hazard that a personal and a corporate conscience must focus on and address”? • Why does he refer to this hazard as a “disease”? • What are the three symptoms of this hazard, and what are the “remedies”? • Do we have to choose between ethics and excellence? Or can we have both?
“Ethics or excellence?” “We need to eat in order to live, but if we live mainly to eat, we become gross.” Gross
“Ethics or excellence?” “Yet isn’t stress the real test of personal and corporate values? The instant decisions executives make under pressure reveal the most about personal and corporate character.” • Two primary reasons that managers behave unethically: • When they decide to place their own personal interests above the interests other organizational stakeholders • When they find themselves under intense pressure to perform and to help their organization succeed.
Learning from disaster • CAIB (Columbia Accident Investigation Board) concluded: • NASA's management system is unsafe to manage the shuttle system beyond the short term; the agency does not have a strong safety culture • Physical and organizational causes played an equal role in the Columbia accident - the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with the accident as the foam that struck the Orbiter on ascent
For discussion How do you balance the correct amount of “head” and “heart” in your job? How do you manage others with that in mind? When does a company’s “distortion of judgment” actually become evil? NASA ultimately killed 7 people and yet it is called a “distortion of judgment.” Should ethics always be what you base your decisions on when working for a company? Doing the reading, I started to think a lot about my own ethical beliefs. How can people’s ethical beliefs used in everyday life differ from ethics used in business? I think that sometimes people’s ethics do seem to differ between one another – why is that?
Ethics and effectiveness? Can ethical behavior have unintended, negative consequences? Christian Solidarity International (a Swiss Christian charity) raised considerable money to buy the freedom of an estimated 200,000 enslaved children in Sudan. Their freedom program unwittingly created a large market for slaves, causing slavery to increase.
For discussion After reading this piece, I felt like Goodpaster was trying to pigeonhole multiple examples of bad behavior into a single explanation - teleopathy. I disagree with this point and believe that there are other factors at play that caused such incidents as the Columbia crash and the Enron scandal. Sometimes there are just bad people making bad decisions. Am I off-base here? Why aren’t business ethics seen as more of an absolute necessity in the business world today? Ultimately, effective performance has a built-in moral component. Agree or disagree?
For discussion The grocery store I used to work for had lots of problems with employee theft. Just about everybody knew that the security cameras didn’t work and that the door alarms had been broken for years. My questions is, besides the use of punishment, can a manager achieve an ethical working environment without using forms of surveillance or alarms?