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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...