Including the Six Pillars of Character in Your Company’s Ethics Code

 

 An ethical code of conduct must arise naturally from the company’s stated values and should provide detailed guidance for handling ethical challenges.  General principles without specific provisions risk being perceived by employees as just window dressing and may breed cynicism rather than commitment. Though provisions must be specific and clear, an ethics code should cover a lot of ground.  The …

Decision Making Models: Consequentialism / Utilitarianism

 

 Utilitarianism  holds that we should judge the merit of an act by its foreseeable consequences.  Actions are good when they produce benefit or prevent harm.  There are two divisions: Act Utilitarianism – The ethical merit of an act is judged by the immediate and direct consequences of the action. Rule Utilitarianism – The ethical merit of an act is judged …

Decision-Making Models: The Golden Rule

 

 This most basic and useful ethical theory, sometimes called the “Rule of Reciprocity,” has a long history: Confucius (500 B.C.): “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Aristotle (325 B.C.): “We should behave to others as we wish them to behave to us.” From the Mahabharata (200 B.C.): “Do nothing to thy neighbor which …

Decision Making Models: Kant’s Categorical Imperative

 

 According to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the moral character of an action depends solely on the principle behind it – not upon the consequences it produces.  Ethical obligations are “higher truths,” which we must obey regardless of the results. According to Kant, moral obligations are absolute and do not allow for exceptions or extenuating circumstances.  A major virtue of Kant’s duty …

Unethical Behavior Worsens Productivity

 

 “Nobody . . . should have any doubts of the linkages between poor ethics in the workplace and low productivity . . . When workers don’t trust each other and their supervisors, then morale is low, stress is high and output is undermined.”  – Kenneth C. Frazier (2003 National Business Ethics Survey) Consider: Companies without a code of ethics do …