Three Dimensional Ethics: Implementing Workplace Values
Annotation. In this book, we have suggested that there are three distinct levels or dimensions of ethics and it is impossible, in the connected world of the early 21st. century, to contemplate one without recognising the influence on and by the other two. Personal ethics cannot be separated from the organisational context in which most of us are destined to spend the majority of our lives, be it working for a multinational corporation, a government department or agency, a not-for-profit organisation or simply volunteering at the local pre-school. Humans are gregarious by nature and seek out the company of other humans in communities that are increasingly focused around the workplace. Similarly, organisations have to be sympathetic to the values and expectations of the wider societal context in which they are embedded. But we would suggest that there is in fact a fourth dimension a parallel world, if you like, which sits alongside our present world - and that is the future world. Eminent mythologist Joseph Campbell suggests that, when we humans have children, we ourselves begin to die. In saying that, he is suggesting that the introspective, inner world that we inhabit as solo human beings changes forever when we have children and our focus turns towards them and their life begins where ours has now left off. Suddenly we are faced with the awful thought that we will be succeeded by this person we have created, we are less important in the wider scheme of things than our heir and successor and she/he will outlive us. The fourth dimension, therefore, belongs to tomorrow s generations and consists of our ethical accountabilities to those who cannot speak for themselves. It includes what s left of the natural world as well as the health of the economic, social and spiritual orders bequeathed to them. Surely we have a duty, an ethical responsibility, to patrol the boundaries of the society we are custodians of for our children and our children s children? IBM became the most powerful corporation in the world because they had a philosophy of passing the baton from leader to leader. They had a philosophy that the current leader was simply the custodian of the corporate culture and it was his (they were all men in those days) responsibility to protect this precious flower for the next generation. IBM endured for over a century of change because of that philosophy and the culture remained intact for several decades. The built to last companies of today share a similar philosophy. This responsibility to future generations is often referred to in the notion of intergenerational equity . In the context of sustainability it is used to describe the responsibility of present generations to safeguard the interests of future generations and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines sustainability as forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs . Attracta Lagan and Brian Moran, November 2005.
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The examined life
Who decides what is ethical? Society organisations or individuals?
Changing societal values The rise of stakeholder capitalism
Governance corporate social responsibility and employee accountability
Context challenge and choice
Understanding ethical perspectives The mindfield of personal ethics
Becoming comfortable with the ethical dimension
Virtue ethics and the rise of the meaning economy
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actions Attracta Australia become Board BodyShop business ethics business leaders China Chinese choices Code of Conduct Code of Ethics commitment company’s Confucian Confucius context core corporate social responsibility decision-making decisions economic employees Enron ensure environment ethic of care ethical accountabilities ethical challenges ethical dimension ethical frameworks ethical issues ethical standards ethics training expectations external global Global Reporting Initiative goals governance human rights identify impact individual industry integrity intergenerational equity Intergenerational ethics internal investment KPMG lives Ltd Materials marketplace moral natural environment needs One.Tel operate organisation’s organisational culture organisational members organisational values performance personal and organisational personal values policies potential principles profit promote recognise reflect relationship reputation right thing seek shape shareholders social and environmental society society’s stakeholders success sustainable development today’s unethical virtue ethics workplace ethics