Ethics at the Interface

 


When we interface as individuals, as citizens, or as representatives of institutions or organizations, we often encounter ethical dilemmas. As the description of this year’s conference theme suggests, we might need to navigate uncertain boundaries between insider and outsider status, and determine whose power is legitimate, whose voices are heard. We confront these questions whether we are teaching a class of culturally, racially (and politically!) diverse students, collaborating on research projects or articles, consulting with clients, or making decisions about an AOM activity. What is the right way, the ethical way, to handle our differences, so we can learn, study, or work together?

When we join AOM we commit to uphold the Code of Ethics, which offers some guidance about the necessity of standing for fair, respectful, inclusive practices when we find ourselves at the interface:

AOM members respect the dignity and worth of all people and the rights of individuals…AOM members are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status, and they consider these factors when working with all people. AOM members try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on these factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.

This year the Ethics Education Committee invites you to discuss common dilemmas and to consider ways to address them. Please join us, all are welcome! After the conference in Atlanta we plan to share what we learn in a series of posts on The Ethicist Blog.

Building a Culture Of Respect: Teaching and Conducting Research in a Complex World
Session Type: PDW Workshop
Program Session: 70 | Submission: 15995 | Sponsor(s): (D&ITC, GDO)
Scheduled: Friday, Aug 4 2017 10:00AM – 12:00PM at Hilton Atlanta in Galleria 1
Organizer: Janet E. Salmons, Walden U.
Organizer: David B. Zoogah, Xavier U.
Organizer: Louise Kelly, U. of La Verne
Organizer: Deborah Michelle Mullen, HealthPartners Inst./ U. of St. Francis

Teaching Ethics & Social Responsibility in a Conflicted World
Program Session: 178 | Submission: 16055 | Sponsor(s): (SIM)
Scheduled: Friday, Aug 4 2017 5:00PM – 6:30PM at Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Marquis M304
Organizer: Janet E. Salmons, Walden U. and Vision2Lead
Organizer: Lynn Wilson, Walden U. and SeaTrust Institute

Ethics Education Committee Open Forum on Ethical Scholarship
Session Type: Meeting
Program Session: 433 | Submission: 18158 | Sponsor(s): (AAA)
Scheduled: Saturday, Aug 5 2017 4:00PM – 5:30PM at Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Lobby L404

Ethics Education Committee Open Forum on Global Ethics for Business
& Academia

Session Type: Meeting
Program Session: 469 | Submission: 18159 | Sponsor(s): (AAA)
Scheduled: Saturday, Aug 5 2017 5:45PM – 7:15PM at Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Lobby L404

UN Sustainable Development Goals: What Can We Do?
Session Type: Caucus
Program Session: 1823 | Submission: 15758 | Sponsor(s): (CAU)
Scheduled: Tuesday, Aug 8 2017 11:30AM – 1:00PM at Hilton Atlanta in Room 203
Organizer: Janet E. Salmons, Walden U.
Organizer: Mark Edward Meaney, U. of Colorado, Boulder
Presenter: Lynn Wilson, Walden U.

Growing Pains: Globalization and the Threats to Research Integrity
Threats to Research Integrity
Session Type: Caucus
Program Session: 2059 | Submission: 16581 | Sponsor(s): (CAU)
Scheduled: Tuesday, Aug 8 2017 3:00PM – 4:30PM at Hilton Atlanta in Room 203
Organizer: Joseph Lampel, The U. of Manchester
Organizer: Benson Honig, McMaster U.

Join the Ethics Ed Committee in Atlanta!

Ethics and Creating a Healthy & Inclusive World

From Kathryn Goldman Schuyler

One of the large ethical questions we face in teaching about organization change and development relates to who is included and who excluded in societal ‘progress’ stimulated by business.  These two sessions build upon a new book about creating a healthy world, with noted thought leaders like Otto Scharmer, Bob, Quinn, and Riane Eisler—each of whom has addressed questions of power, dominance, includion and exclusion, and purpose in their writings for years. what an opportunity to interact with them directly!

What is our role as scholars in creating meaningful organizations and a healthy world?  The AOM presents two interconnected sessions to nourish dialogue on this important question.
[1] Highly interactive PDW on Leadership for a Healthy World – SATURDAY 10:15 am -12:45 pm Marriott, Northeast Marquis Ballroom. 
Otto Scharmer, Robert Quinn, Susan Skjei, and Kathryn Goldman Schuyler will create an atmosphere that invites you to explore what is meaningful to you with regard to societal health! This PDW highlights how shifting the inner place from which you operate as a leader so you connect to the sources of your own self (your own humanity, your own creativity) is key to transformative change. We focus particularly on how we create meaning for ourselves and others. What makes work feel meaningful? Meaningless? What is the role of leaders in this—and your role? The session will alternate between short talks by these distinguished speaker and breakouts that allow everyone to participate actively.
[2] Go deeply into the thinking behind the new ILA book CREATIVE SOCIAL CHANGE: Leadership for a Healthy World, which builds on thinking by Otto Scharmer and Robert E. Quinn (who will speak) as well as Meg Wheatley, Ed Schein, and Peter Senge about the nature of organizational health. Showcase symposium: Leading Meaningfully

MONDAY 11:30 am, Marriott, Grand Ballroom Salon E, with Otto Scharmer, Robert Quinn, Riane Eisler, Samuel Wilson, and Kathryn Goldman Schuyler.

This symposium fosters dialogue among these noted thinkers on the interconnections among leadership, sustainability, the long-term viability of the planet, organizational development, and how these depend on meaningful organizations. Brought together, these arenas of research and action can influence events globally and contribute to creating a healthy society. The distinguished speakers are respected internationally for their diverse contributions to thought and action related to creating such a healthy world. While all are contributors to our new book, the symposium brings them together for a first time in person to discuss the interconnections among their different perspectives and experience.
[3] Come meet Otto Scharmer, Bob Quinn, and me at the Emerald Booth in the exhibit hall on SUNDAY at 2:30 for drinks and snacks—and get your copy of Creative Social Change signed by Otto Scharmer, Robert Quinn, and Kathryn Goldman Schuyler!!

PDW Making Ethical Codes Meaningful

SIM and the Ethics Education Committee collaborated on a caucus held in Vancouver. In small groups, participants examined themes and potential revisions to the AOM Code of Ethics. We are now using the notes from that caucus as we work to propose changes to the content and format of the Code. In Anaheim, SIM will offer an excellent opportunity to continue the conversation, and consider ethical codes in the context of this year’s theme of “Meaningful Organizations.” I invited Scott Taylor and Laura Spence to share information about this important PDW, and I hope to see you there! –Janet Salmons, Chair, EEC

Making Ethical Codes Meaningful – Change, Community and Voice
Scott Taylor and Laura Spence

#161 MAKING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION MEANINGFUL: MOVING FROM DE JURE CODES TO DE FACTO PRACTICE
Friday August 5, 4.15-6.15pm
Sheraton Palm Hotel, Palm East. All welcome!

If we know anything with certainty in the field of business ethics, it’s that ethical codes don’t guarantee ethical actions. Many colleagues use the Enron code of ethics in teaching to demonstrate this – a spectacularly detailed, glossy, hortatory 65 page document, that was systematically ignored and derided by most working in that unhappy organization. An extreme example of code-practice disconnect, for sure, but one that we should always have in mind when we develop and promote ethical codes, such as the one to which all AOM members are automatic signatories. Need a reminder of what it you have agreed to? Take a look here.

It is no surprise that we don’t all have the content of the AOM code memorised, and that needn’t mean that we are acting in contradiction to it. Or indeed our practise might naturally exceed the expectations set out in the AOM code. However, there are times when observable practice contravenes the code.  Whatever your position on the value of codes of conduct – and they are subject to critique themselves of course – if you are member of AOM, you have committed to following this one.

To think through and act on the potential for code-practice disconnect, we decided to put together a PDW in Anaheim this year on the topic of bringing codes into practice with a view to identifying practical steps through an interactive workshop. We asked people from Africa, Europe, North America and South America to come together and make provocative presentations about putting formal professional ethics into meaningful practice. Presenters and discussants will talk about their experiences of working with police forces, social movements, and academic colleagues, in practising and analysing how ethics happen in complex organizations.

One of the intellectual reasons for putting this workshop together was the realisation that management researchers and educators have been writing and talking about the gap between codes and practice for as long as management and organization studies has been taught and written. This observation was the central pillar of, for example, Melville Dalton’s classic book Men Who Manage (first edition 1959!): official behaviours, represented in codes and guidelines, and unofficial actions, observed in everyday organizational life, were universally characterised by being markedly different. Why have codes if we don’t intend to act on them? And as the entries on this blog to date show, the key first step is to think, talk, and write about the gaps. That’s the first purpose of this workshop.

Like Dalton, though, we also want to take a second step, towards taking action. To that end, we’re creating a space where people can listen to and talk about very concrete possibilities: social activism, implementing quotas, protecting the conditions for voices to be heard, and occupying formal offices (in AOM and in our own employing institutions). None of these things are easy to do, especially when the everyday demands of academic work is so high, and when so many positions are precarious, framed by short-term contracts, pressures to publish, managerialism, and student assessments of our teaching.

However, if we don’t take up the challenge to bring what we know about ethics to our own profession as well as to the organizations that our students work in, then what, really is the point? First, we leave ourselves open to accusations of hypocrisy – if our own house isn’t clean, then we have no right to tell others how to maintain theirs. Second, we’re likely to experience significant cognitive dissonance – and again, we know from the research we do as a community, that’s not great to live with. Finally, it’s simply the right thing to do – as a profession, despite steadily degrading working conditions, many of us still have the privilege of being (mostly) in control of our own workplaces, institutions, and practices. In that sense, we have the freedom to think about and take pro-social, progressive action in our own working lives, as well as promoting this to others.

Do join us, and come armed with your challenges and solutions relating to the practice of ethics in the Academy of Management. We are keen to have a diverse and engaged workshop, so bring some innovation and energy too!

#161 MAKING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION MEANINGFUL: MOVING FROM DE JURE CODES TO DE FACTO PRACTICE
Chair:
Laura Spence, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

Presenters:

  • Rafael Alcadipani, Sao Paulo School of Economics/FGV-EAESP, Brazil. Practising diversity in extreme organizations.
  • Yvonne Benschop, Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University, Netherlands. Formal and informal networking to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Lauren McCarthy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Social movement and action, technology and feminism for inclusion.
  • Patrizia Zanoni, Hasselt University, Belgium. The challenges of engaged scholarship on diversity and inclusion.

Panel:

  • Alex Faria, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration /FGV-EBAPE, Brazil. Practising diversity and inclusion through post- and decolonial thinking.
  • Sarah Gilmore, University of Portsmouth, UK. Bureaucracy and holding office in service of inclusion.
  • Scott Taylor, University of Birmingham, UK. Building inclusive communities.

    Discussants:

  • Eileen Kwesiga, Bryant University. HRM and diversity.
  • Nceku Nyathi, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Values based leadership.

Sponsored by the Diversity & Inclusion Theme Committee, Critical Management Studies, Gender & Diversity in Organizations, Social Issues in Management.

 

 

PDW “Why Can’t We All Just Get along? Practical Conflict-Management Techniques and the Role of the Ombudspersons”

neutral

by Mary Sue Love, Ph.D.
AOM Ombuds Committee

In a recent blog post from AOM Ombuds Greg Stephens, he introduced the Ombuds service and promised to speak to each of the International Ombudsman Association principles.  As another AOM Ombuds, today, I want to talk about being neutral and impartial, particularly our “responsibility to consider the legitimate concerns and interests of all individuals affected by the matter” and our commitment to help “develop a range of responsible options to resolve problems” (See: https://www.ombudsassociation.org/IOA_Main/media/SiteFiles/IOA_Standards_of_Practice_Oct09.pdf).

Last month, my son’s roommate dropped by, and as she was venting about his lack of communication, I heard myself say, ‘you won’t be roommates for very long if you approach the situation like that.’  Needless to say, that was not neutral or impartial…and it ended up causing even more stress for my son as she went home angry, not just at him, but now at me too!

Last week, she dropped by again with a new list of complaints. This time, I didn’t scold her or tell her how to manage my son.  I asked questions about her perspective, and then about his.  Two marvelous things happened; first she didn’t get angry and storm out (good for my son).  But more importantly, after her feelings and concerns were acknowledged, she was able to be a bit more reflective about his perspective, what he might be thinking and feeling in the situation. That’s exactly why Ombuds need to be neutral and impartial.

It’s our job to help you understand:

  • the situation,
  • your reaction,
  • the other party’s stance,
  • and find a well-rounded perspective with possibilities for resolving your dispute.

My son and his roommate are still struggling to find a resolution to their very different living styles.  But, this time, I behaved differently.  I put on my Ombuds hat, I didn’t judge, I didn’t lead.  Will it resolve their dispute?  No, of course not.  But, her new perspective just might give them a chance!

Stone, Patton, and Heen call this the ‘third story,’ in their book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, or a perspective that both sides can agree on.  While it’s work, it’s work worth doing. Here’s a bit more on the concept: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/conflict-resolution/telling-the-third-story/.

As a matter of fact, we’ll use this and many other concepts in our PDW “Why Can’t We All Just Get along? Practical Conflict-Management Techniques and the Role of the Ombudspersons” in Anaheim on August 6th at 3:15 PM (Hilton Anaheim, Catalina 4) http://my.aom.org/program2016/SessionDetails.aspx?sid=11002. We’ll share and practice helpful conflict management techniques and offer a Q & A on the role of the ombuds.

And, if you need help with your roommate, or if you just like the artwork above (which is theirs), here’s one group of students’ work on roommate/relationship conflict http://stopthefight.org/?page_id=64.