Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks – August, 19, 2014

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Editor’s Top Choice:

5 Reasons Ethical Culture Doesn’t Just Happen
By Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context:

Don’t assume that an ethical culture will just happen in your workplace. Even if you are a good leader, ethical culture is a delicate thing, requiring intentional positive leadership and daily tending. It requires more than good leadership, more than trust building, and more than good hiring.

Why does building an ethical culture require so much more than good leadership? Ethical culture is a system of systems, and just putting in good leadership, trust-building and good hiring doesn’t make it healthy.

Managing people systems requires that we pay just as much attention to what we “take out” as what we “put in.”

Just dealing with obvious ethics lapses won’t ensure that they don’t happen again, and fixing them won’t build an ethical culture. Building an ethical culture requires that we both “put in” ethical values and “take out” negative behaviors that erode trust. Culture is subtle, and we must be just as careful with “unspoken rules” as we are with “corporate messages.” Read more

Other Featured Picks of the Week

Why Aren’t Ethicists More Ethical?
From Talking Ethics:

As the host of Talking Ethics, I’m sometimes asked whether I feel a greater need to live a strictly ethical life. People are probably also wondering whether I really do.

To me the answer to the first question is a resounding yes. If you’re going to talk the talk, you ought to walk the walk. There’s no question that I try harder to do the right thing. But that’s not to say I succeed.

In fact, I’ve become more aware of my shortcomings, both past and present, and I don’t claim to be any more ethical than the average person (although it’s not a contest). In fact, when we ran a survey recently asking people when it was okay to lie, an inherently unethical act, many respondents were less willing to lie in certain circumstances than I was.

What I will say, though, is that hosting this website has made me think a lot more about my behavior than before, and I certainly try harder than I used to. Read more

Top 5 Movies about Business Ethics

Chris MacDonald of Emtrain Blog  writes, “There are lots of ways you can learn about ethical issues in business. You can do some reading. You can take a course. But hey, it’s summer, so let’s talk movies. Here’s a list of my 5 favorite business ethics documentaries. Granted, these aren’t exactly great date movies. Nor are they action-packed blockbusters. But trust me you could do a lot worse.” Read more

Companies with Benefits
James Surowiecki of The New Yorker writes, “In recent years, Warby Parker has become the eyeglass-maker of choice for hipsters. In a recent GQ taxonomy of the different varieties of nerd, all but one of the nerds were wearing a pair of Warby Parkers. The company’s approach—selling stylish specs at affordable prices—seems obvious, but, in an industry where brand-name glasses cost two or three hundred dollars a pair, it counts as revolutionary. The company has a similarly unconventional approach to its corporate identity. Soon after starting Warby, the founders made it a “B corporation.” B corporations are for-profit companies that pledge to achieve social goals as well as business ones. Their social and environmental performance must be regularly certified by a nonprofit called B Lab, much the way LEED buildings have to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Many B corps are also committed to a specific social mission. Warby’s production and distribution is carbon-neutral, and, for every pair of glasses it sells, it distributes another in the developing world, in partnership with a nonprofit called VisionSpring.” Read more

Leadership Ethics: It Doesn’t Depend
From Ted Coine, of Switch & Shift, Human Side of Business, “Do you want high morale at work? Be ethical.

Imagine recent outcomes at GM, and Toyota before it, if some frontline engineer – or even assembly line worker – used the company Intranet to say ‘Hey, CEO, there’s a fundamental design problem with (fill in the blank)’ …and the CEO stopped production while the glitch was fixed, even if that meant months of stalled production.

Ethics today save you money tomorrow. But that’s not all. Ethics today makes you more money, every day of the year, for generations.” Read more

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