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Professor Denis Collins
School of Business
Edgewood College
Madison, WI 53711


Behaving Badly
Professional Ethical Dilemmas

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Link to Ethical Dilemmas documents



A company is a community of ethically imperfect people that offers many opportunities to behave unethically, through the competition for power and wealth within the organization or in its product market. This is why so many successful executives, when they write memoirs about what they learned during their illustrious careers, conclude that personal integrity is an essential attribute of success.
I have been helping managers to create ethical organizations for more than fifteen years. Managers want to be proud of their organizations. Yet at times they feel pressured to cut ethical corners for the good of the organization. These unfortunate short-term solutions, if publicly known, could significantly damage their careers as well as the organization’s reputation.
It takes years to build a solid reputation and only a brief moment to destroy it. The goodwill developed through high-integrity performance can evaporate instantaneously. Common rationalizations for unethical behavior, such as “I was only doing what needed to be done” and “I did it for the good of the organization,” sound hollow and self-serving in the glare of the media spotlight.
The links on this page provide other ethical dilemmas for you and your colleagues to explore and discuss.