Business Case #6: Silver-Plating and Cyanide

 

 The G.R. Bronson Company is a large publicly-owned conglomerate whose holdings are primarily in the retail sale of jewelry. Several years ago, it purchased for $10 million a plant that puts silver and gold plate on jewelry.  The seller, Hedda Wilson, stayed on to manage the company until last year. Behind the plating facility there are three underground tanks.  One …

Honesty in Conduct

 

 Honesty is the bedrock of trust and trustworthiness. The moral command to be honest requires us to speak and act only in ways that engender and justify trust. That seems simple enough. But honesty is a broader concept than some realize. An honest person tells the truth, is sincere, doesn’t deceive, mislead, act devious or tricky, doesn’t betray a trust, …

Avoiding Unfair Conduct

 

 One of the problems with interpreting the concepts of fairness and justice is that so many factors can go into the notion of a fair judgment. There is rarely one single result dictated by ethical analysis. Consequently, we often do not know what is truly fair. We do, however, often know what is unfair, and our first obligation is to …

Twelve Common Rationalizations and Excuses to Avoid

Rationalizations – The Enemy of Integrity: Twelve Common Rationalizations and Excuses to Avoid

 

 Everyone is ethical in their own eyes. Rationalizations are the most potent enemy to integrity. They work like an anesthetic to our consciences allowing us to avoid the pain of guilt when we don’t live up to our values. We want to think well of ourselves so much that we develop strategies to convince ourselves that we are better than …

When Ethical Principles Conflict

 

 When ethical principles conflict (e.g., when being honest may be unkind) and there is no clear-cut right response, you must choose which principle to honor.  Ethical conflicts are best resolved by decisions-making strategies that help you see the moral implications of diverse choices, sort out competing claims, and evaluate the consequences of each option.  The following methods may help you …

Creating an Ethical Workplace Culture

 

 Setting up an ethical workplace culture is more involved than drafting a values statement, setting policy or training programs ensure employees and vendors are knowledgeable about the rules.  Ethical workplace cultures are ones that make it far easier to do the right thing and much harder to do the wrong thing.  Unfortunately, the problem is many business cultures make it …

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 …