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.