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Ethics is Everything

Or Winning Takes Care of NOTHING Without Ethics This week I’m going to keep it simple. Nike and Tiger Woods are appalling. It’s hard to know which is worse, although given that presumably Nike controls its advertising, the buck stops there. By now the ad “winning takes care of everything” (published immediately after regaining his position as “world number 1” following a win at Arnold Palmer Invitational) has been all over the press and social media. What does this have to do with ethics? Everything. In short, a “winning fixes all” attitude defined Lance Armstrong, the Libor banks, Lehman Brothers,...

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...

Missing the Point: Lessons From Novartis: Shareholders Win the Compensation Revolt but Lose the Ethics Revolution

The actions and commentary surrounding the recent shareholder revolt over the proposed $78 million payment to departing Novartis Chairman Daniel Vasella offer a range of ethics and governance lessons. These are critical across all sectors from corporate to non-profit to governmental. My purpose is never to attack an individual leader, an organization, or commentators. My intent here is learning, especially as it seems inconceivable that this kind of situation could continue to occur following the relentless say on pay and other ethics events of 2012. (more…)

Lance Armstrong Part II: “Winning at All Costs”: Organizational Doping or Strategically Integrated Unethical Behavior

Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey this week reinforced his driving objective of “win at all costs”. However, the question that Oprah never directly asked during her provocative discussion was whether he ever thought he had really won when accepting the trophies after so intentionally and consistently cheating. There was not a single Tour de France race that he actually won clean. (more…)

Snap Ethics

I permanently lag behind in technology in all respects much to the exasperation of my tech-savvy family. However, one app that has recently made both my children’s iPhones and news headlines as potentially disrupting social media has caught my eye: SnapChat. As far as I understand it, SnapChat’s unique selling point is that it allows free sharing of photos via smartphones that then spontaneously self-destruct within a maximum of 10 seconds. Short lifespans raise interesting ethics questions. My own ethics work focuses on forward-looking decision-making, indeed the opposite of short-term (or micro-term) analysis. The ethical implications of SnapChat might question:...

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