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Über dieses Buch

“Are you an ethical person?” Regardless of your answer, a follow-up probe might be: “How do you know?” Your personal values reflect your beliefs, what you care about. These values, if they really matter to you, are activated by and through your everyday decisions. How do you ensure that your values, those that reflect your best ethical self, are actually demonstrated in the choices you make on a daily basis? Sometimes what we say we value does not match our actual behavior. Being ethical requires the ability to discern and navigate competing values, continually striving to attain both personal and organizational goals with moral strength. This necessitates the development of skills that support personal governance and your moral competency. To be ethical, building moral strength needs to become a focus of your daily life, which calls for making a deliberate effort to apply the values you say you hold. In reading this book you will see how awareness of your thoughts and emotions—along with specific moral competencies—can influence your desire to do the right thing and bolster your ability to exercise moral strength at work. Drawing insight from the latest research in management, business ethics, organizational behavior, and psychology, each chapter is intended to help adult learners examine, leverage, and continue to develop their best ethical selves in organizational life.



Chapter 1. What Makes You Tick?

Learning to be an ethical person is a process that is never finalized. Human beings are malleable and have an innate ability to evolve. As adults we can choose to continue to learn, grow, and change. But deliberately or by default, we may come to rely upon our automatic reactions to guide our daily lives.
Leslie E. Sekerka

Chapter 2. You Are What You Do

Are you at home or perhaps on the road? Maybe you are in an airplane? Are you reading online, in a library, or listening to this book as you jog or drive down the street? Regardless of your location, the chances are that other people are not far off. We share this planet and co-create its successes or failures. As philosophers and scientists observe theoretically and empirically, our lives are socially constructed (Gergen 1997). How we behave is experienced by others, which generates collective meaning as we go about living our lives. We all have a hand in shaping this world, one day at a time.
Leslie E. Sekerka

Chapter 3. Power from Within

Arguably, there is a moral element to every decision you make. You may not be aware of it or see it initially, but ethics are a part of every action, which is always preceded by choice. Take something as benign as whether or not to hit the snooze button on your morning alarm clock. Should you get up or enjoy an extra 30 m of sleep? Perhaps the best idea is to hit the button and get more rest. Indeed, taking care of your health is important. That said, perhaps an even healthier choice might be to get up and eat some breakfast. Taking this one step further, what about your family? Perhaps sleeping in may inadvertently cause you to run late, thus increasing your chances of speeding on the way to work and being less attentive on the roadways. On the face of it, these sorts of daily choices may not be viewed as moral challenges. But consider what can happen when people do not care about the health and well-being of others on a daily basis. Eventually, seemingly benign choices, when consistently ignored, can become major moral issues.
Leslie E. Sekerka

Chapter 4. Paying Attention

Recall your behavior in school, when the classroom was filled with laughter, mischief, and chatter. The teacher would dive in and say, “People, will you please pay attention?” While simplified to make a point, this sort of reminder to you—to pay attention—is central in sustaining your ethical behavior. As your values compete for priority, ask yourself: Do you have an inner voice that corrals your thoughts, reminding you to be aware of and think about the ethical elements of the given situation? Being ethical is not about being well versed in philosophy, decision-making models, or some profound reasoning strategy. Rather, it is about choosing to consciously be aware of your motives and intentions in your daily task actions and working to be your best.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 5. Recognizing Your Vulnerabilities

Regardless of the level of expertise or number of degrees you have received, no amount of education can make you genuinely care about being ethical. Being ethical means you have made a personal decision that this is who you want to be in the world and that you’re willing to work at it. Recall a time when you became aware of others taking part in some activity that seemed inappropriate, perhaps doing something against the rules or even illegal. For example, someone padded an expense report, accepted a gift from a supplier without reporting it, or inappropriately used company resources. Such actions are not as benign as they can appear. While others around you may have pursued such activities, maybe you held your ground, staying above the moral line.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 6. Small Deceptions Matter

The reality of being human is that we all bend the truth. We lie. Whether intentionally for unethical reasons or in a backward manner to try and do good, mistruths are everywhere we go. We lie, and we lie a lot. One study found that telling lies to partners, bosses, and coworkers occurred, on average, six times a day for men and three times a day for women (Daily Mail Reporter 2009). In the workplace people share social fictions all the time, claiming that “nothing is wrong” (when something is wrong) or that we go along with something “that’s fine” (when it is really troubling).
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 7. Choosing to Be Ethical

People often “go with the flow,” emulating other people’s behaviors in how they go about completing their work or assigned tasks. In many instances, we put very little thought or conscious effort into determining how we respond to our daily decisions. It’s like when you see someone jaywalk—you are easily tempted to do the same thing. Being ethical at work requires an overarching personal decision to be mindful of the ethical elements embedded within your everyday activities. This requires self-awareness, and being honest with yourself about identifying your moral strengths and weaknesses. Underutilizing the capacity for moral mindfulness, you are, in some ways, denying or even shirking a civic responsibility. In choosing to walk across the street against the light, aware or unaware of this decision, you are still accountable for your actions and must accept the punitive response if rendered.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 8. Managing Your Desires

Being ethical is about consciously making choices that reflect what you care about most, believe in, and truly value. The organizations we work for are platforms for executing our ethical values. Ask yourself, do you value being morally responsible at work? This means taking charge of your own behavior to ensure that your values are demonstrated in what you do. Many of us end up spending time and energy in service of our immediate demands and/or fulfilling short-term wants and desires. Rather than valuing being responsible, which, in and of itself is at the crux of being ethical, we often behave in ways that demonstrate how much we value fulfilling short-term gratification or other priorities.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 9. Professional Moral Courage

The desire and decision to be an ethical and moral person needs to be durable—continuously maintained and strengthened. Managers, leaders, and employees at every level of the organization have come to some level of agreement that there is both necessity and value in being ethical in business. Despite the jokes that the combination of business and ethics is an apparent oxymoron, many of us believe that the two can go hand-in-hand.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 10. Moral Competencies

Professional moral courage is not a one-time task. It is represented by an ongoing commitment to being ethical. Ethicality is not something saved up for special occasions, parsed out for certain problems, or applied when it’s convenient or others are watching.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 11. Ethics Education and Training

In the pluralistic world of business, the creation and use of professional standards of practice is a common approach to addressing ethics.
Leslie E Sekerka

Chapter 12. Self-directed Moral Development

Ethical development is a necessary prerequisite, if good character is to become a matter of practical life. Of course, your ethicality begins in childhood and emerges with observation, learning, time, and experience. The etymological ancestor of the word ethics, ethike, is a compound formed from the words ethos and techne. It literally means “the art or skill necessary to produce a showing of characteristic manner or spirit,” complemented by a “bonding attitude” or “sense of comportment toward others.” Interestingly, the notion of competency to act in a particular manner and to work well with others is at the very heart of the original term.
Leslie E Sekerka
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