In civilian life, I am a writing coach, and I preach a pretty hard line about practice and discipline. I help people get their prose into shape by “planning their work and working their plan”. I like to think of myself as a philosopher, but on most days I’m really just a glorified motivational speaker, and, I must admit, a bit of a moralist. I believe that an orderly writing routine makes you, for lack of a better word, a better person.

So I always blush when people ask me how my own writing is going. The truth is that I’m not nearly as disciplined and focused in my scholarship as I would like to be. I try to keep my commitments to this blog, of course. And to my own blogs elsewhere. And every now and then I will accept an invitation to write something for some particular occasion. But the slow, daily work of writing down what I know is probably as difficult for me as it is for everyone else, no matter how many times I say some variant of “just do it”. I’m as imperfect as the next guy.

Now, this blog isn’t about writing but about ethics. And here the same problem exists, though with perhaps even more uncomfortable force, a sense of “shame” if you will. As a member of the Ethics Education Committee, and as a blogger here at the Ethicist, I’m not just bound by the Code of Ethics but bound to promote it. Its preamble states:

AOM members realize that to maintain ethical standards they must make a personal, lifelong commitment to behaving ethically themselves; to encouraging students, supervisees, employees, employers, and colleagues to behave ethically; and to consulting with others when ethical questions arise.

It’s entirely fair to ask how well I live up to that ideal. Not only do I of course fail on occasion to take the most ethical of the available courses of action, I also sometimes fail to encourage it in others and–too often, I’m afraid–to make ethical questions explicit when they arise. How are we to deal with our ethical imperfections? How are we to deal with the ethical imperfections of our ethics educators? Good questions.

Many years ago (and I just realized that I may have reached the age when I can say “When I was young man…”) I wrote a high-spirited defense of hypocrisy. Geoffrey Klempner, who published my piece in his Philosophy for Business newsletter, neatly summarized the underlying idea in his editor’s note: “it is better, more conducive to moral progress, to fail to live up to one’s own high ideals than to adjust one’s ideals downwards to fit one’s practice.” I still believe that is true, and the brief surge of interest in income-proportional penalties for traffic violations, which famously resulted in a $103,000 speeding ticket, reminded me of the example I used back then. Indeed, I see now that the example can be improved.

Suppose you are an anti-speeding crusader and a holder of a relevant political office. In public and in private you rail against the threat that speeding is to our safety, and you are particularly offended by the nonchalance with which wealthy drivers, who also of course happen to own the fastest cars, approach the posted speed limits. To them, a speeding ticket is a negligible cost of car ownership (the whole point of which, they might say, is to get them to where they are going faster), along with insurance, gas, and the car itself. So you introduce legislation to make speeding tickets more of a deterrent force in their lives. And let’s say you get exorbitant $100,000 fines for sufficiently wealthy drivers passed.

And then, of course, you get caught speeding. The media would have what they call a “field day” with this. But why would we find it so funny? As long as you pay the fine, what’s the problem? In the moment, you decided that the risk of such ticket was worth running. You do not believe that you had an excuse that was sufficient to get you off the hook. But the possibility of getting a ticket does deter you from speeding under normal circumstances. It’s just that this particular date was very important to you to keep. So you went for it. And you got caught. It may even happen again but, because you do actually respect the law, and in exactly the way you meant it to be respected when you wrote it, it will happen very rarely. To my mind, that is a sound ethical position to take. (Have at it in the comments if you disagree!)

Closer to home, I’ve been known to ride a pretty high horse on academic misconduct, plagiarism in particular. Some people find my work in this area a bit overwrought, a bit pedantic. I’m sure there are people who would find it amusing if I got caught having plagiarized something. And I can’t say I don’t sometimes feel a bit of anxiety about that. Live by the sword, die by the sword, right? But in such moments I have to remind myself that I know what I would do to correct my error, and that it is in that moment, when I own my mistake and help the community recover from whatever damage my actions may have caused, that my ethical “character” is revealed. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what happens afterwards that matters.

Given the world as it is, people as they are, there’s a sense in which we better hope that we’re all hypocrites. That is, we better hope that each of us is beholden to a higher sense of justice than our actions commonly display. We are striving upward.

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I’ve been having a number of conversations about authorship lately. This is an increasingly important issue, as can be seen by the growing amount of multi-authored papers and, especially, the increasingly common appearance of papers co-authored by PhD supervisors and their students. This isn’t always (or even mostly) wrong; we just have to understand the right and the wrong way about it. The above video has some excellent observations about this, and all I want to do in this post is to identify one don’t and two dos.

Don’t think of authorship as an honor. That is, don’t think that you are winning something by being an author or that you can do someone a favor by making them an author of a paper that you wrote. Do bring in a co-author if you think they can make a contribution to your paper, and if someone has made a substantial contribution to your paper or to your research then you can consider asking them to come on board as a co-author. But in that case do also remember that being an author brings responsibility. An author guarantees that the data was collected in a sound and responsible manner and that the paper was written with care, i.e., with respect for the sources.

An author is implicated in the quality of the paper and can, of course, take credit when the paper is good. But if parts of the paper turn out to be plagiarised, or the data turns out to be fabricated, all the author’s share the blame. Authorship, that is, is not an honor one bestows; it is a responsibility one takes for the contribution one has made.

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Retraction: A growing, if uncomfortable, state of affairs

Retraction of peer review published articles has become an increasing activity not only in the sciences, but in both social sciences and in management. They are up by an order of magnitude in recent times. A global flood of faculty are under increasing pressure to publish in top journals whose publication ‘slots’ haven’t increased in accordance with demand.

One result, it would seem, are attempts to ‘cut corners’, in order to enhance the publication prospects of our work. The consequences may lead to erroneous publication, however, the sword of Damocles hangs over all our heads, leading to retraction, as well as significant public and professional embarrassment.

We have recently observed a number of well known cases in the field of management, including both a German Professor and an American scholar who had multiple publications retracted from leading management journals. Both cases engendered considerable controversy, rebuke, counter rebuke, litigation and professional frustration, as co-authors, senior and jr. scholars, editors, and reviewers found themselves involved in heated debates regarding the merits, ethics, and legal rights surrounding these retractions.

This blog cannot adjudicate regarding the decisions made by editors or publishers that eventually lead to retraction, nor is that our goal. However, it is worth noting that our own code of ethics addresses this issue squarely; by stating:

“if AOM members discover significant errors in their publication or presentation of data, they take appropriate steps to correct such errors in the form of a correction, retraction, published erratum, or other public statement”.

The site, retraction watch is a fountain of information regarding when, how and why these actions take place. A MacArtthur foundation grant insures that the founding writers, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, will be reporting on the ethical errors, omissions, and sometimes outrageous antics of our profession for some time to come. They have called for a journal transparency index asking journals to formally codify many of the ethical guidelines that already exist in our own Code of Ethics

They include:

  • The journal’s review protocol, including whether or not its articles are peer-reviewed; the typical number of reviewers, time for review, manuscript acceptance rate, and details of the appeals process
  • Whether the journal requires that underlying data are made available
  • Whether the journal uses plagiarism detection software and reviews figures for evidence of image manipulation
  • The journal’s mechanism for dealing with allegations of errors or misconduct, including whether it investigates such allegations from anonymous whistleblowers
  • Whether corrections and retraction notices are as clear as possible, conforming to accepted publishing ethics guidelines such as those from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)

As management scholars, surprisingly, we are only beginning to learn the importance of some of these critical issues related to the scientific method including replication, data recording and data sharing, enabling others to verify the accuracy of our analyses.

I personally recall a senior editor writing that because replication was of no interest to their journal, a replicated and extended finding that demonstrated one of their previously well cited publications was erroneous was not within the journal’s mandate, of no concern, and thus subject to immediate desk rejection. Taking the point of view of this editor, one might determine that retractions or replications that undermine previously published work only serve to detract from a journal’s reputation.   However, from a field perspective, our contribution to science is predicated on our ability to adopt and ensure that rigorous standards are adhered to, even of the cost seems unreasonable to the average scholar (such as a decision to retract erroneous work).

No doubt, there will be an increasing number of ‘incidents’ of retraction as our scholarly community begins to embrace something akin to a transparency index, and as we more literally interpret AOM’s code of ethics regarding research and publication. While the process may be somewhat painful, I look forward to the outcome in terms of increased scientific reliability.

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How to Proceed

It is unfortunate, but of course understandable, that ethical issues arise and are discussed in terms of “violations”. While one could imagine a “positive” ethics, modeled on, say, positive psychology or, more recently, positive organization scholarship, the focus is conventionally on the avoidance of wrong, not the promotion of right. One reason for this, especially in a “business” environment, which is founded, famously (or infamously, as you choose), on the idea that the “private vices” can foster “public virtues”, is that ethics is seen by many as a kind of “minimal” condition for conduct. In a certain sense, it is not enough to be virtuous. “At the end of the day,” as they say, there’s the “bottom line”, etc.

So it’s very much a question of where to draw the line. Of when to take a stand. Of how to, let’s say, insist on ethical behavior. And here I think it can be useful to take a procedural stance. While there are many, perhaps all too common, behaviors that are in some sense “unethical” and could rightly be called out as “wrong”, doing so may involve a disproportionate amount of effort and discomfort to the parties involved. Certainly, accusers may find themselves getting into a longer and more painful process than they bargained for. But even the perpetrator, even when actually guilty of something, may be subjected to reprisals that, when we think about it, are finally a bit cruel or unusual. (See Jon Ronson’s detailed piece on social media blow-ups, for example.)  It is worth practicing a bit of care, therefore, both in one’s allegations and one’s responses to them.

The AOM Code of Ethics tells us that:

When AOM members have substantial reason to believe that there has been an ethical violation by another AOM member, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual. If an informal resolution appears appropriate or possible, or AOM members seek advice about how to proceed, they may contact the AOM’s Ethics Ombudsperson for guidance. (5.4)

Notice both that there’s a requirement here for a “substantial reason”, and for some attempt to resolve it directly with the wrongdoer. That sets the bar for engagement pretty high, but I think for the most part appropriately.  We can’t have a system where every small perceived infraction has be to settled by a formal process (in the AOM’s case, that means the Ethics Adjudication Committee, of course.) But I think we also have to keep in mind that there are situations where the requirement of direct confrontation with the alleged perpetrator is too much to ask of the victim, or even just the person who discovers the violation.

The two kinds of case that immediately come to mind are (1) when PhD students and junior faculty discover research misconduct in the their supervisors or superiors and (2) those involving harassment (including, but not limited to sexual harassment). The second kind often has a subtext of assault, i.e., even if the police would not deem it serious enough to intervene, the behavior is both unprofessional and in some sense “physical”. I.e., the “violation” is also a kind of violence.

In such situations, where the power dynamic is not conducive to an individual simply ” bringing [the ethical violation] to the attention of [the violator]”, we need some institutional frameworks. These should, of course, be available in the immediate environment (the research environment) but can also be available in the broader professional environment, which is constituted in part by professional associations like the AOM. Understanding the options available to both the accuser and the accused is part of our ethical competence. And this blog is of course an attempt to contribute to building that competence.


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How should we maintain a professional environment?

As co-chair of the AOM Ethics Education Committee, I’ve had a surprising number of individuals approach me with personal or professional violations, often asking what can be done, and what should be done. Thomas is going to examine some of the procedural components in his subsequent comments, but I thought I would begin with a few important underlying fundamentals.

First, our code of ethics is actually a statement of principles and guidelines. Unlike public laws, enforced by police, a judicial system, and constructed by representatives, our set of ethical principles are meant to inform, rather than restrict. The consequences of transgressing even the most important principle, no matter how blatantly, is basically limited to the very rare case of expulsion from the Academy of Management – not – pointedly – from the ‘Academy’ itself. So, at the end of the day, we are in the process of diffusing a set of principles that we have collectively fashioned to represent a normative behavior that we expect our colleagues to engage in. However, simply reading them – and being familiar with the professional standards and goals that we agree upon – is a marked step toward increasing our accountability, and our professional ethics. We owe it to ourselves, to our students, and to our profession to become familiar with this code. If you haven’t recently read it, I highly recommend doing so.

Many of the issues brought to may attention recently – ranging from the complexity of journal retraction, to issues regarding academic standards and authorship conventions – could be solved by simply behaving in resonance with item 3 , professional principles of our code, stating the importance of …”recognition of the dignity and personal worth of colleagues are required”.

It all sounds very simple – dignity and self worth – but what I see happening all too often is that the competitive nature of our profession is undermining our sense of community, of collegiality, and eventually impacting the quality and utility of what we accomplish as a profession. It is not possible to distance ourselves from our ethical responsibilities and focus exclusively on publication, without understanding the collective interpretations of our actions. Theoretical work on eugenics, lacking important ethical codes, resulted in the collapse of German academia and led to mass extermination. A very interesting study of the method and consequences of professional and academic demise can be found in the diaries of Victor Kelmper, here: http://www.amazon.com/Will-Bear-Witness-1942-1945-Diary/dp/0375756973/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1FZNMKEJD6SPBPZ5FP86

When each of us makes scholarly decisions – seemingly as trivial as checking the box for reject or major revision – we enact important elements of our code of ethics. Are we trying to advantage our own work at the expense of others? Are we interested in furthering our scholarly knowledge, or in advancing a particular opinion? Are we focusing on our last rejection, or are we ‘paying it forward’, primarily considering the advancement of managerial knowledge?

I invite you to share your experiences of ethical ‘forks in the road’ in this blog, anonymously, or otherwise, so that we can all benefit from our collective experiences.

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Education and Adjudication

I’m gearing up to write a few posts on the procedural aspects of ethics at the Academy of Management. What happens when someone does something wrong and someone else tries to hold him or her accountable? Or what happens when someone who hasn’t done anything wrong at all is accused of wrongdoing? How are such disputes resolved? What role does a professional organization like the Academy of Management play in them?

Before I do that, however, I have to remind readers of the difference between the Ethics Education Committee (EEC) and the Ethics Adjudication Committee (EAC). This blog is written by members of the EEC and our aim is simply to teach the values and principles of the Code of Ethics to the members. The charge of the EAC is different. It is set up specifically to apply the Code in particular cases that are brought before it. In the middle, if you will (I’m actually not sure that’s the right metaphor, but let’s see how it goes), we find the Ombudsman, who is charged with helping people work out their disagreements informally and suggest formal ways to proceed if necessary.

It’s tempting to think of ethics education as preventative and ethics adjudication as punitive. But that’s a very narrow view. After all, our aim in the EEC is not just to discourage people from doing the wrong thing. Our aim is to show how doing the right thing “works”, i.e., to give a more detailed sense of what ethical behavior looks like, so that members become more capable of it, and even so that it will be preferred to less ethical behavior. Instead of reducing education to prevention, I’d prefer to elevate it to edification. Likewise, “adjudication” does not just mean punishing the bad guy. It means identifying the wrong that was done and finding ways to correct it. Sometimes this does mean that the wrongdoer needs to be identified as such and stripped of some specific set of privileges. (This is rarely something the AOM does, I should point out.) But what is most important is to reach a determination of the facts, and an assessment of right and wrong, so that the community can move forward.

Mistakes happen. Outright bad behavior happens too. But if it is not spoken about, or talked about without reaching a conclusion, then it has the potential to undermine the trust that scholarship requires.

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Ethics as a Conversation

The best way to approach an apparent ethics violation is as a misunderstanding that can be resolved informally among the people involved. This means that if I feel I have been wronged by someone, I should assume that that person was acting in good faith, but had perhaps been misinformed in some way. Likewise, if someone accuses me of wrongdoing, I should assume that this person has come upon information that would indeed suggest so, but that (since I’ve done nothing wrong, of course) there’s been some mistake. What we should not do is to take immediate offense, either because we’ve been wronged, or because we’ve been accused of wrongdoing. Very often, a solution is possible if we presume that all the people involved are imperfect people who trying to be as good as they can.

This idea is codified in the Academy of Management’s Code of Ethics as follows:

When AOM members have substantial reason to believe that there has been an ethical violation by another AOM member, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual. (5.4)

In interpreting this standard it’s important to apply a little common sense. This principle does not say that you must always first go to the person you think has done something unethical. There are many cases in which it would be risky to confront the alleged wrongdoer directly. In those cases, it makes little difference whether anything unethical has actually been done. Some people don’t take the accusation lightly, even if they’ve done nothing, or especially if they’ve done nothing wrong. (I’m not sure if that “even … or” should be vice versa. Are people especially offended by the accusation if it’s accurate?) What you will want to do is make sure that your interactions with the other person are documented and/or witnessed by a third party. And this is where a more official process, or the involvement of the ombudsperson, might be helpful. (More on formal processes in another post.)

What the standard does say is that is that you should be able to substantiate your sense that there has been an ethical violation. You have to have a good, detailed sense of what happened and why its a problem. This will make the conversation much more constructive. You should also have a resolution of some kind in mind. If there is something wrong, what would set things right? Don’t accuse someone else, whether in public or in private, of an ethical violation without good reason to do so, and don’t do it just to establish the fact that this person is unethical. Assume that they are ethical and want to do the right thing. Be in a position to explain the wrong and suggest the right.

And remember, always, that conversation takes time. Reaching an understanding is a long, but often rewarding, process.

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Cuba and our professional responsibilities

As a new ethicist blogger, and co-chair of the Academy of Management’s Ethics Education Committee, I wish to echo Thomas’s appreciation for our three pioneers in this endeavor – Lorraine Eden, Kathy Lund Dean, and Paul Vaaler. All accomplishments begin with a vision, and we owe them much appreciation for their innovative idea, substantial contributions, and dedication. These will be large shoes to fill. My objective in this post will be to focus directly on examining how elements of our carefully constructed AOM code of ethics can be better recognized, understood, taught, and practiced.

I just returned from visiting one of the very few countries on the planet more or less disconnected from the internet – Cuba. During my visit I had ample opportunity to meet people of all stripes in diverse locations as well as researchers and academics at the University of Havana. My travels took me to both rural and urban locations, although I studiously avoided the ‘all inclusive’ tourist traps. Instead, my attention focused on trying to understand a culture and an environment with a trajectory substantially different from any of the 116 countries that AOM members represent (Cuba, obviously, is not one of them). My visit was particularly timely given the recent announcement by President Obama, who stated “ 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked.  It’s time for a new approach”.

The very first item of general principles in the AOM code of ethics addresses responsibility. I think this is an excellent place to begin my reflections of our code, with Cuba presenting an interesting example to speculate regarding what some of my observations may mean to us, as practicing professionals.

In section of our code (1) we are asked to develop trusting relationships, recognize our obligations to society and our communities, manage conflicts of interest, and avoid exploitation or harm. Finally, we are asked to contribute portions of our professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.

Cuba is just beginning to authorize private ownership of businesses, although it continues under very strict regulation. One senior professor readily admitted that they had no tools for teaching or preparing their university students for private sector firms – something that, until recently, simply did not exist. In my meetings with them, they were unanimous in requesting assistance in my own field of entrepreneurship, both for research and for developing instructional programs. I found my colleagues to be dedicated professionals, with an unusually keen interest on community and regional development, particularly in rural areas.

A similar knowledge gap existed in the USSR when it opened up in 1989. In a very well documented example, Jeffery Sachs, then at Harvard, recommended ‘shock therapy’, as a way of opening up Russia and other satellite markets. The results were mixed, and critics, including Nobel prizewinner Joe Stiglitz, as well as William Easterly, claim it created unnecessary suffering, advocating a more gradual approach such as that taken by China.

It seems highly probable that in the not too distant future, Cuban scholars will join our AOM community. No doubt, there will be exciting research opportunities as well as substantial financial rewards in store for the pioneer management scholars willing to ‘show them the way’. However, I can’t help but wonder how closely we will adhere to our code’s demand for personal responsibility as academicians. How many of us will contribute ‘for little or no compensation or personal advantage’? How can we, as the world’s largest association of management scholars, provide responsible and ethically sound advice for a situation that 1) exists nowhere else in the world and 2) represents an environment that our copious research experience has not examined, and is largely ignorant of. Will we approach our Cuban colleagues with arrogance or with humility? Will the implementation of our undoubtedly forthcoming advice enhance the life prospects of the average Cuban, or only that of select elites? What role can AOM play in tackling this very important transition, and how can our code of ethics guide us in responsible practices?


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Is Ethical Behavior Disruptive?

In her engagement with Bob Giacalone and Mark Promislo’s AMLE article “Broken When Entering” (2013, vol 12, no 1), Kathy Lund Dean raises an important and somewhat disturbing possibility about ethical behavior. Giacolone and Promislo’s concerns about the “stigma of goodness”, she explains, suggest

… not just that some people act in virtuous ways that others may think are ridiculous as they pursue their own agendas toward wealth and power, but that the virtuous themselves represent a disruption to carefully cultivated bottom-line norms that may be emotionally disconfirming to the extent that virtuous employees must be stopped.

That’s a pretty stark truth to consider, but I have to say that I agree that it’s an issue. Virtues are only meaningful if they are sometimes, and perhaps characteristically, “inconvenient” (in Al Gore’s sense). That means both that virtuous behavior will necessarily constitute an impediment to other personal and organizational projects (“agendas toward wealth and power”) and that virtuous people (at least those who don’t hide their virtue very well) will be perceived as a threat by others. Those others may themselves be virtuous (indeed, they may worry about how their own virtue will undermine their organizational ambitions), but they will nonetheless be afraid that “higher aims” will take precedence over the organization. No matter how “good” you are, it’s a strange situation to be in to recognize that there’s a sense in which it’s counter to your interests.

Obviously, this is itself an organizational issue. We can imagine organizations that are highly vulnerable to ethical behavior. But we can also imagine organizations in which what Kathy calls “the costs of ethical behavior” are already, as it were, “sunk” into the daily organizational routines. This is what we sometimes call “due process”, and, by insisting on it even before an ethical issue has arisen, we create a space for ethical behavior that is already “paid for”, if you will. Being virtuous will then not be a disruption, but business as usual. This is certainly what we’d hope is true of our academic environments.

As always, these are just provisional thoughts. I’d love to hear what readers think.

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Responsibility, Integrity, Respect

I’m going to spend a few posts thinking out loud about the the Academy’s Code of Ethics. I should emphasize that this is not an official statement, but my own personal interpretation. As with everything here at the Ethicist, it’s part of a conversation, not the last word on something. Please let me know what you think. Let’s talk about it.

The word “ethics” derives from the Greek “ethos”, meaning “habitual character and disposition; moral character; habit, custom; an accustomed place.” To me, this emphasizes the rather ordinary nature of ethical behavior. Ethical behavior does not usually require any drama; one just does one’s work properly, decently. This underlying ordinariness of ethical action can be seen in the Code’s “General Principles”, which state that Academy members should comport themselves with responsibility, integrity and respect. While this may seem pretty straightforward, adhering to such principles is, of course, as difficult as, well, being alive. That difficulty is what being a human being in a social milieu is all about.

At the core of the Code’s definition of responsibility lies the idea that our work is carried out within relationships that are based on trust. This, in turn, requires us to define our roles and obligations clearly; after all, we have to know who we can trust in what matters. It also requires us to avoid conflicts of interest, which undermine trust, and even to actively help others without being compensated, which builds trust. To draw on etymology again: being responsible means being “answerable”. Ethical people, we might say, are able to account for their actions.

The Code defines integrity as a concern for “accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness”. Basically, we try to ensure that when when people are talking to us, they don’t come to believe things that are untrue. So we don’t lead them to believe we have qualifications we don’t have. We don’t lead to believe that our rivals are less competent than we know they are. We don’t misrepresent the facts, or obscure our sources of the facts. We don’t, in short, claim to know something we don’t understand or to own something that isn’t ours. The commonsense injunctions against lying and stealing capture this principle nicely.

Finally, the Code invokes the principle of respect–specifically for the rights and dignity of others. And here we can begin to see the difficulty that an ethical life implies. After all, treating one person with respect may come into conflict with your responsibilities to another; certainly, being honest with someone is not always the most respectful thing you can do. The Code sorts the concern with confidentiality under “respect”; clearly this sometimes precludes being entirely truthful, which it sorts under “integrity”. (Even to let on that you know something about someone that you are not allowed to say can be a breach of their privacy.) There’s an important ethical tension here.*

There is a lively discussion these days about the importance of being aware of your “privilege”. Do your words and actions carry extra weight because they channel a power that is rooted in history of injustices, whether of race, or class, or gender, or sexuality? If so, these injustices are, importantly, historical. The list will no doubt have to be amended in the future as we become aware of forms marginalization we haven’t seen before. The value of the Code is that it requires us to face these issues explicitly, and then to work through them as our cultural values, personal morals, and actual responsibilities change throughout our careers. Like I say, it’s as difficult as being alive. Doing it well is correspondingly rewarding.

P.S. In a post from 2013, Kathy Lund Dean put this point forcefully: “Ethical and principled behavior is de-stabilizing to important, instrumental relationships in business, and there are costs to that.” I’ll write more about this in my next post.

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