How Has This Course Shaped My Ethics?
Ethics and Social Responsibility,
December 2, 2011
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Piazza, Ph.D.
How Has This Course Shaped My Ethics?
As I was sitting in the introduction seminar, at the Residential Conference in January, 2011 very interested in the subject of Ethics and Social Responsibility. My question I wanted to have answered is: “Why do people treat others in a way they do not want to be treated themselves?” (C. Bocage, Personal Statement, 19 January, 2011). There were several individuals who I knew in the seminar and was positive it was going to be a great experience. Dr. Piazza started the “conversation”, his favorite word for interaction a question, “How do you make a decision which is ethical, has integrity and mitigates harm?”. I thought I had the answer without thinking but I was wrong. He also asked, can a company be ethical and profitable and still be socially responsible.? He then asked, ”what is my version of ethics?” and most importantly, “Am I the professional the world needs?” He kept the conversation moving by saying, “being ethical is going to cost you something, - what are you willing to give up to be ethical?”. All these questions were answered initially during the course but they did cause me to conduct some interesting research to determine how these questions related to my personal experiences and how I made decisions. Did I make decisions using an ethical lens and if so, what lens did I use? After all this interaction, I knew I was in the right place to develop a more in-depth understanding of ethics and how it can be used effectively in organizations to promote social responsibility, in a humanistic way. How to Lead with Integrity in an Organization and Enhance all of its Stakeholders
Throughout the course, I was bombarded with so many aspects of ethics it had my head swimming. I learned that there were several ways of developing a balanced company. I learned that an organization had to develop a strategy to implement their ethical principles and there were several to choose from. I could choose a Utilitarian, Rights-based, Common good and duty and Virtue strategy to form a foundation for my ethical perspective. Then I could review ways of implementing it using a communitarian way in the text “The Communitarian Persuasion”, and I could choose to have the corporation viewed as a moral entity, a corporate condition or as a social contract which I found in the text “The Balanced Company”, the social contract resonated with me because it seemed to be one which encompassed all of the issues I felt were important and I leaned towards a rights based ethical framework which treated people as individuals, the way I want to be treated. I also reviewed “The Stakeholder Theory” as an alternative and chose to use it as a frame of reference. Each of these different strategies made a significant impact on my because I now have tools in my toolbox to use when I need to enhance all of its Stakeholders, the most important part of ethics. Dr. Piazza also introduced a profound question which has definitely changed my life, he said, “to truly understand ethics, you have to understand how people see people, do they see them as a cog in the wheel or do they see them as human beings?”. I was awestruck by this simple statement and it provided me with the reasons I had been searching for related to why people lay people off from work when profits dip, commit crimes against humanity, and collect compensation when they did not perform their jobs and the company has to declare bankruptcy. I was made aware the reason people rationalize these acts is because they look at the job as important and because of its importance, it is acceptable to collect compensation based on this importance, so in their minds, they deserve the compensation no matter what the outcomes are. I find this a skewed way of viewing responsibility based on my...