Leaders and Bystanders

Presidential candidate Ben Carson was recently widely ridiculed for saying that when a gunman sets out to shoot a bunch of unarmed people, someone should rush the gunman. This idea was ridiculed because it seemed to put the burden on the victims of mass shootings. But, whether or not Carson knew it, he was a discussing a well-known phenomenon called “the bystander effect.” And, given what we know about the bystander effect, he may have a point even it if it was inopportunely raised. Read more at Did Ben Carson have a point?.

Ethics Is Not about Feelings

It is sometimes said that ethical conversation is pointless because it all comes down to how people feel about things. This is clearly nonsense. When I want to know about your ethics, I want to know if you will pay me back the money you owe me. I want to know if I can count on you to tell me the truth even if it is unpleasant to do so. I want to know what you will do, not how you will feel when you’re doing it. Your feelings may be an indicator of what you will do but it is what you will do that is really at issue.

Another Lie: There Is No Progress In Ethics

It does often seem that progress in ethics is hard to come by. But can anyone doubt that it is more ethical to live in a society in which slavery is not tolerated than to live in one in which slavery is tolerated? Is it not clearly more ethical to live in a society that allows participation by women than in one that prohibits it? What is true is that ethical progress is not easy or equal. But did anyone expect ethical progress to be easy, automatic or universally acknowledged? Ethical progress may come slowly and at great cost – but it does come.

Lies about Ethics

The Profit Motive Undermines Ethics.

Many people believe that capitalism itself is unethical because the profit motive causes people to act unethically. But the truth is that any motive carried to an extreme can undermine ethics as much or more than the profit motive. Can anyone doubt that the power motive distorts the judgment of politicians and public officials? Or that the ego motive corrupts the judgment of celebrities, who are often quick to blame the profit motive. The problem is not with the profit motive per se but with any motive carried to an extreme.

Ethics and Compliance Training

The bad news is that ethics and compliance training programs usually don’t work. The good new is that it really isn’t as hard as you may think to make it work. There is a recent article in a publication called Training on this topic. Follow the link below to read it.

http://www.trainingmag.com/ethics-training-doesn%E2%80%99t-often-work%E2%80%94-it-can

5 Surprising Truths about Ethics in One Place

More on Whistle Blowers and How to Manage Them

The following piece on this topic appeared in the Globe and Mail.

http://tinyurl.com/o4ex72r