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Mining Ethics Lessons from Leadership Research… and Miners

Iterative Ethics This blog is the first of a series of eight blogs I will write extracting ethics lessons from research and stories that are not at the start ethics-related. It is part of a deliberate effort at synthetic organizational thinking at SLAL, tying together cross-sector organizational matters to derive learning directly and indirectly relevant to ethics. The messages are gleaned from business, non-profit, and governmental organizations, and the ethics applies to all. In a recent Harvard Business Review article entitled “Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Mining Rescue,” Harvard Business School professors Amy C. Edmondson and Herman B. Leonard, and...

Untangling the Confusion Over Organizational Ethics

This article was first published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (Summer 2013).  A wave of ethics transgressions underlines the importance of comprehensive ethics oversight for organizational success. Last year, 2012, was in many regards a step forward for proponents of ethical action. Roger Gifford, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, one of the world’s financial capitals, declared business ethics a priority and critical to the City’s economic success. François Hollande published a Code of Ethics within 11 days of becoming president of France. And the new Chinese premier, Xi Jinping, highlighted the ongoing danger of corruption to economic and social development as a central part...

Curing the British National Health Service with Two Words?

The recent press storm detailing ethical failures within the NHS highlights the oversimplification (to two words) and under analysis (in two words) of the ethics challenge. This blog focuses on those two words: “moral purpose”. The key question is how will this “moral purpose” result in more ethical decision-making throughout the NHS but within the context of the NHS’ reality? Calling for a moral purpose is useful if it is shorthand for calling for on-going comprehensive ethics oversight and not a one-shot tagline. For the moment, the prescription is for these two words (with a code of ethics and dismissal...


Intentional Ethics

January 1 often kicks off with intentions: New Year’s resolutions. The importance of intentions also surfaces widely in spiritual, political, literary, and philosophical works too numerous for a blog, as well as in criminal law (e.g. intentional murder versus manslaughter) and various social interactions (“it’s the thought that counts”). However, in ethics oversight organizational leaders all too often fail to clarify the intentions underlying ethics initiatives. That is, instead of focusing on intended ethics outcomes, they stop short and consider the analysis complete upon identification of a list of ethics actions. (more…)

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