Bullying and the AOM Code of Ethics

Bullying is not mentioned by name in the AOM Code of Ethics. However, principles laid out in the Code make it clear that such behaviors are not appropriate. Members commit to uphold these principles when joining the association. By understanding AOM’s expectations and knowing about the help available for dealing with problematic situations, we can improve our own professional ethics and serve as a resource to others.

  • The principle of responsibility points to the importance of trusting relationships and the necessity of avoiding conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm.
  • The principle of integrity states that members treat students, colleagues, research subjects, and clients with respect, dignity, fairness, and caring.
  • The principle of respect for people’s rights and dignity affirms the worth of all people and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. This principle clarifies the expectation for awareness and respect for cultural, individual, and role differences. Members try to eliminate the effect on their own work of biases based on these factors, and do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices. The AOM and its members are committed to providing academic and professional work environments that are free of sexual harassment and all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation.

AOM’s principles are guideposts for members’ attitudes and actions. The Code of Ethics is enforceable when we are interacting with others in our Divisions or Committees, at conferences or AOM-sponsored events. In other words, we have the right to address any issues we experience or observe.  Review the Policies and Procedures or send an email to the Ombuds Committee with any questions:  ethics@aom.org. While not enforceable outside of AOM activities, the Code articulates aspirational goals that guide us toward the highest ideals of research, teaching, practice, and service.

The annual conference for 2018 focused on Improving Lives, and the conference for 2019 will focus on Inclusion. These themes call us to re-examine our academic and professional lives and recommit to principles articulated in our Code of Ethics.

The following post was previously published on SAGE MethodSpace.

Bullying: Bad for People, Bad for Scholarship

Bully

Bullying in the academic workplace keeps coming up in conversations with faculty and graduate students. I’ve discovered a new term for the safe spaces where people reveal such confidences: hush harbors (Nunley 2011). I would like to think that a commitment to higher education translates into a commitment to acting from a higher calling, but alas, when I find myself in a hush harbor, stories about bullying abound. I’ve had enough first-hand experience to know that these stories are real.

I decided to take a look at the literature—what do researchers find when they study their own workplaces? What strategies do they recommend? This is far from an exhaustive exploration of research on bullying, but hopefully you will find some helpful background on the problem, and tips for preventing or addressing it.

Is bullying endemic to academia?

While bullying is present in all kinds of workplaces, such behaviors are apparently exacerbated by power structures particular to higher education.  One adjunct instructor, frustrated by inaction at her university, observed that “the highly competitive, hierarchical atmosphere of academia is well-known as a fertile breeding ground for bullying behavior” (Anonymous, 2018). While much of this activity is private, unreported, and hidden, the incidence of bullying is much higher in academia than in other professional settings (Hollis, 2013).

Bullying in academic institutions has implications beyond the individual suffering. These behaviors can also create a chilling effect on the important work of academia: to teach and develop future scholars who are respectful of each other and can work across disciplines and diverse cultures to conduct and write about research. Keashly and Neuman (2010) found that intellectual inquiry, independent thought, and reasoned discussion suffer in environments where bullying is allowed to continue without consequence. Victims (and those around them) too often remain silent, in fear of retaliation that could sabotage their graduate studies, opportunities to publish, and/or careers.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a pattern of behavior involving repeated unreasonable actions of an individual or group of individuals toward another, which have the intention of shaming, dishonoring, intimidating, and disheartening, and which create a risk to the health or safety of another (SHARP, 2012). Academic incivility includes rude and disrespectful behaviors such as

  • giving colleagues or subordinates the silent treatment
  • micromanagement
  • constant criticism
  • gossip
  • exclusion
  • patronizing behavior
  • belittling others’ work
  • taking credit for others’ work. (Clark et al., 2013).

In our information-intensive age, many of these forms of bullying can take place online, with repercussions that extend beyond one’s own department. The Internet and social media offer new ways for bullies to transmit harmful text messages, photos, or video, sometimes anonymously (Washington, 2014). It is easy to share private information without permission (Condon, 2014), for example, forwarding personal email, posting someone’s ideas out of context, or distributing work-in-progress shared in an informal setting.

What can we do about bullying? 

All of the writers referenced here discussed the fact that having a policy in place is essential but inadequate. A policy document buried on the university website is useless without ongoing attention to the problems. Wright and Hill (2015) suggest that institutions define and discuss a clear strategy for confidential reporting with impunity for victims, and establish consequences for the perpetrators” (p. 17).  An ombuds office that offers a neutral advice about how to address a situation can be an important component of a holistic campus-wide approach.

Wright and Hill (2015) recommend making collegiality, that is, demonstrating a spirit of community and collaboration, a key component of tenure and promotion requirements and faculty evaluations. Rather than pretend that bullying doesn’t exist, discuss and address incidences of incivility. Mentoring and coaching by chairs or senior faculty, particularly with new faculty and graduate students, can help to communicate expectations and options for dealing with difficult situations (Metzger, Petit, & Sieber, 2015).

At the individual level, speaking up is easier said than done and confrontation with the bully is almost never productive (King & Piotrowski, 2015). Practical advice for individuals includes keeping records of specific incidents, submitting corroborative evidence of incivility or incidents directly to the bully’s immediate supervisor, and documenting any and all complaints (King & Piotrowski, 2015).  Sedivy-Benton et al. (2015) suggest a key survival strategy: detachment from the environment in which bullying occurred and attachment to another positive, supportive environment. In such an environment, a hush harbor, collegiality and productive relationships can take away some of the pressure inherent in a hostile environment.

Karen Pyke, past president of the Pacific Sociological Association, called for sociologists “to embrace our professional responsibilities and apply our scholarly knowledge and commitments to the reduction of inequality in our own workplace. If we can’t do it here, can we do it anywhere?” (Pyke, 2018) Surely her question applies to all disciplines! How will you—and your institution—answer it? Please use the comment area to share relevant studies or strategies.

 

References

Anonymous. (2018). We need a bigger conversation about bullying in academia. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/jan/26/we-need-a-bigger-conversation-about-bullying-in-academia

Clark, C. M. (2013). National study on faculty-to-faculty incivility: Strategies to foster collegiality and civility. Nurse Educator38, 98-102.

Collins, N. R., & Rogers, B. (2017). Growing concerns with workplace incivility. Workplace Health & Safety, 65(11), 564-564. doi:10.1177/2165079917719468

Condon, B. B. (2014). Incivility as bullying in nursing education. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28(1), 21-26. doi:10.1177/0894318414558617

Keashly, L., & Neuman, J. H. (2010). Faculty experiences with bullying in higher education: Causes, consequences, and management. Administrative Theory & Praxis32, 48-70.

King, C., & Piotrowski, C. (2015). Bullying of educators by educators: Incivility in higher education. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 8(4), 257-262.

Metzger, A. M., Petit, A., & Sieber, S. (2015). Mentoring as a way to change a culture of academic bullying and mobbing in the humanities. Higher Education for the Future, 2(2), 139-150. doi:10.1177/2347631115584119

Misawa, M., & Rowland, M. L. (2014). Academic bullying and incivility in adult, higher, continuing, and professional education. Adult Learning, 26(1), 3-5. doi:10.1177/1045159514558415

Nunley, Vorris L. 2011. Keepin’ it hushed: The barbershop and African American hush harbor rhetoric. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University.

Pyke, K. D. (2018). Institutional betrayal: Inequity, discrimination, bullying, and retaliation in academia. Sociological Perspectives, 61(1), 5-13. doi:10.1177/0731121417743816

Sedivy-Benton, A., Strohschen, G., Cavazos, N., & Boden-McGill, C. (2014). Good ol’ boys, mean girls, and tyrants: a phenomenological study of the lived experiences and survival strategies of bullied women adult educators. Adult Learning, 26(1), 35-41. doi:10.1177/1045159514558411

SHARP (Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention) Program. (2012). Workplace Bullying and Disruptive Behavior: What Everyone Needs to Know. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Washington, E. T. (2014). An overview of cyberbullying in higher education. Adult Learning, 26(1), 21-27. doi:10.1177/1045159514558412

Interactive & Lively: Ethics Events in Chicago

The AOM Ethics Education Committee believes that dialogue is critical. As scholars, we need to identify ethical dilemmas and figure out how to study them. As students, academics, and practitioners, we need to figure out how to interpret and act on ethical principles.  In both cases we must wrestle with implications for our own professional and personal lives.

We invite all members– including new and student members– to join us for meaningful discussions. After the conference, we will post the insights and practical strategies that emerge from these sessions.

eec-at-aom-2018

  • Integrity Meets Creativity:
    Keeping Honest in Academic Writing 

    PDW Workshop. Session Sponsor(s): (MED)
    Friday, Aug 10 2018 8:00AM – 10:00AM
    at Hyatt Regency Chicago in Gold Coast

    Moderator: Janet E. Salmons, Vision2Lead
    Presenter: Nancy E. Day, Member & Ombuds Ethics Committee Chair
    Presenter: Rebecca Wendy Frankel, Sage Publications Presenter: Rachel McCullagh Balven, Arizona State U.

    Academic writers must find a balance between presenting original work expressed in our own scholarly voices, and situating that work within the literature of the field. This classic challenge is made more difficult in the cut-and-paste digital age. The AOM Code of Ethics and guidelines for scholarly journals clearly discourage plagiarism. While it is essential to avoid plagiarism, this is a low standard for AOM members, who should be making significant contributions to the advancement of our field. This workshop will focus on promoting originality and honesty in research and writing. We will review intellectual property laws relating to copyright and image permissions that can trip up well-intentioned researchers who seek to publish their work. We will frame the discussion using the originality continuum (Salmons, 2007, in press http://bit.ly/2AEnIwb) that differentiates between writing that is unethical, such as plagiarized writing, and writing that is not only ethical, but creative and nuanced.

  • Ethics Forum — Giving Voice To Values: Being Ethical in a Conflicted World

    Sponsor(s): (AAA)
    Saturday, Aug 11 2018 4:00PM – 5:30PM
    at Hyatt Regency Chicago in Plaza A

    AOM Ethics Forum  Organizer: Janet E. Salmons, Vision2Lead
    Presenter: Mary Gentile, U. of Virginia Darden School of Business

    Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is an innovative approach to promoting a higher level of integrity in education and the workplace. Drawing on actual experience as well as scholarship, GVV fills a long-standing and critical gap in the development of values-centered leaders. GVV is not about persuading people to be more ethical. Rather GVV starts from the premise that most of us already want to act on our values, but that we also want to feel that we have a reasonable chance of doing so effectively and successfully. This curriculum is about raising those odds. In this informal session, GVV founder and director Dr. Gentile will explain the rationale and principles behind this empowering approach to developing the ethical muscles – the skills and confidence – required to voice and act on our values.

  • Ethics Forum — The Internet Challenge to Publishing Ethics

    Sponsor(s): (AAA)
    Saturday, Aug 11 2018 5:45PM – 7:15PM
    at Hyatt Regency Chicago in Plaza A

    Organizer: Janet E. Salmons, Vision2Lead
    Presenter: Benson Honig, McMaster U.

    Publishing ethics evolved in the pre-Internet days. They are essentially a codification of best practice, where best practice reflects the publishing infrastructure of the time. Much as has changed. The Internet has made double blind reviewing more difficult. It poses challenges to authors as well as reviewers. Many conferences now demand that your paper has not presented in other conferences. Are you violating ethics if you present a version of your paper twice, to different audiences? Are you violating ethics if you present some of your results in a webinar, blog, or on social media? This open forum with current and former journal editors will offer the opportunity for a lively discussion about emerging ethical dilemmas for researchers who want to publish and present their work in-person and online.

  • Improving Grad Student Lives: Tools for When You Feel Powerless – Power Issues in AOM and Academia 

    Caucus
    Tuesday, Aug 14 2018 11:30AM – 1:00PM
    at Swissôtel Chicago in Rhone

    Organizers: Deborah M. Mullen, U. of Tennessee, Chattanooga and Rachel McCullagh Balven, Arizona State U.

    This caucus invites students and faculty to engage in a discussion about power issues inherent in graduate education, academia, and AOM. Using cases, the session will explore issue reporting, techniques for resolution, and tools for diffusing situations and self-care. Participants are encouraged to bring cases for discussion.

    Special thanks to the College of Business Ethics Education Initiative at Kansas State University for sponsoring events at this year’s conference!

PDW: Doing Diversity Research and Being a Diversity Scholar: Navigating Academic Careers

In addition to sessions and meetings convened by the Ethics Education Committee, we are pleased to share information about valuable sessions that address important aspects of the AOM Code of Ethics. See this series of posts about conference events.
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If you are attending the Academy meeting this year and interested in diversity scholarship, please consider joining this PDW. Members from all divisions are very welcome. Pre-registration is required for this session. Please contact the workshop organizer tania.jain@sbs.ox.ac.uk to obtain the approval code.
Scheduled: Friday, Aug 10 2018 11:00AM – 1:00PM at Hyatt Regency Chicago in Crystal B

Organizer: Tania JainU. of Oxford
Panelist: Ajnesh PrasadEGADE Business School
Panelist: Banu Ozkazanc-PanU. of Massachusetts, Boston
Panelist: Charlotte M. KaramAmerican U. of Beirut
Panelist: Doyin AtewologunQueen Mary U. of London
Panelist: Eddy S. NgDalhousie U.
Panelist: Regine BendlWU Vienna U. of Economics and Business
Distinguished Speaker: Stella M. NkomoU. of Pretoria
This PDW proposes a rare discussion on navigating the professional complexities that come with doing diversity research and being a diversity scholar, particularly in business schools. It offers a rare opportunity to get behind-the-scenes insights into the professional journeys and career histories of leading diversity scholars in management research today. It will facilitate dialogue on practical realities to begin, sustain, and advance a career as a diversity academic. Participants have a chance for collective reflection about the obstacles and the opportunities that confront their ‘doing’ of diversity scholarship and their ‘being’ as a diversity scholar. The PDW will also advance consideration on how business schools can better support diversity academics in more productive and meaningful ways beyond tokenistic attention. We will discuss the various ways in which our departments’ political climate affects our membership, citizenship, and career advancement and how we can better engage to improve it. The PDW will be particularly useful for advanced doctoral students and early career researchers as they can witness a wide spectrum of possible career paths through the journeys of several role models who blazed the trail to become accomplished scholars in the field.

PDW: And Yet She Persisted: Tools for Succeeding as a Woman Academic

The AOM Ethics Education Committee welcomes the focus on ethics themes by members who are presenting valuable sessions at the annual conference. This is one of the sessions we are highlighting. Find others here. After the conference, we welcome these presenters to share insights, themes, or resources on The Ethicist.

All are cordially invited to this AOM All Academy Theme PDW focusing on the biases women academics face at work and how they overcome them or persist throw them. Bias in the workplace is a both a practical challenge with which many of us grapple, as well as an ethical issue. The AOM Code of Ethics calls us to “respect the dignity and worth of all people” and core to that mission is seeking to remediate the biases in our environments. We would love to add your voices to this conversation.

Women academics face challenging circumstances in their professional lives. Relative to their male colleagues, they can expect longer review times (Hengel, 2016), less credit for their research contributions when working in a team (Sarsons, 2017), biased evaluations of their teaching from students (Mengel, et al., 2017, Boring, et al., 2016), and more. This PDW seeks to raise awareness of the challenges women academics face and to provide some tools to overcome them.

AOM All Academy Theme PDW. Program Session: 581

Scheduled: Sunday, August 12, 10 am – 12:30 pm, Hyatt Regency.

Speaker: Emily Block
Speaker: Donna Blancero
Speaker: Annabelle Gawer
Speaker: Aparna Joshi
Speaker: Sarah Kaplan
Speaker: Xioawei Rose Luo
Speaker: Margaret Neale
Speaker: Kathleen Sutcliffe
Co-Chair: Maria Farkas & Sara Soderstrom

Facilitators: Grace Augustine, Shelby Gai, Kathryn Heinze, Aparna Joshi, Laura Kray, Celia Moore, Jo-Ellen Pozner, & Flannery Stevens

The PDW has two parts:

Part 1: Stories of persistence: Seven accomplished women academics share a story about a challenge they faced in their career and how they overcame it. We will also share findings from a survey on the different experiences of men and women academics in business schools and the tools and resources that enabled them to deal with challenges.

Part 2:  Tools of persistence: In facilitated break-out groups, we will share resources and discuss solutions to particular challenges for women academics. Topics may include: support through professional organizations, sponsorship AND mentorship, mobilizing your university to create support for women academics, self-advocacy, teaching, and research collaborations.

If you wish to attend, please register at this link – And Yet She Persisted Registration. You will be asked to identify your preferred break-out group topic.

​​PDW: Behavioral Ethics Research

This post is part of an invited series, in an effort to share ethics-related opportunities, news, and projects lead by AOM Divisions, Committees, and members.
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Session #313, Title: “Behavioral Ethics Research: A Third Annual Pecha Kucha Springboard and Networking Session.”  Saturday, August 11, 2018 10:45 AM – 2:45 PM. Location: Sheraton Grand Chicago, Sheraton Ballroom II & III.

Organizers:
Niki den Nieuwenboer (U of Kansas)
Marie Mitchell (U of Georgia)
Linda K. Treviño (Penn State)

The field of behavioral ethics examines the causes and consequences of ethical and unethical behavior within organizations. Buoyed by the organizational scandals that continue to come to light, the field is attracting ever more research interest and is starting to diversify in its theoretical foundations and methodologies. Thus, the behavioral ethics community attracts individuals from a broad range of backgrounds and divisions within the Academy of Management.

To enable the behavioral ethics research community to continue to grow and prosper, for the third consecutive time, we are organizing a PDW that offers a platform for all those interested in (un-)ethical behavior within organizations to congregate, mingle, and exchange research ideas. The first half of the PDW features eight timed 5-minute Pecha Kucha style presentations by established and more upcoming scholars in the field. These presentations highlight a broad range of ideas that the presenters believe will push the field forward. The presentations will be followed by a stimulating plenary discussion.

The second half of the PDW will feature nine roundtable topical discussions, hosted by two to three behavioral ethics experts per table.

While all are welcome to attend the first part of the PDW, we ask those who are interested in also attending the round table discussions to register ahead of time, as we only have limited space per table. There are still a few spots left; so if you are interested please email us at niki@ku.edu.

Presenters and experts:
Bruce Avolio (U of Washington)
Max Bazerman (Harvard)
Jon Bundy (Arizona State U)
Katy DeCelles (U Toronto)
Rellie Derfler-Rozin (U of Maryland)
Ryan Fehr (U of Washington)
Rob Folger (U of Central Florida)
Michelle Gelfand (U of Maryland)
Maryam Kouchaki (Northwestern)
Celia Moore (Bocconi)
Tyler Okimoto (U of Queensland)
Mike Pfarrer (U of Georgia)
Lamar Pierce (U of Washington St. Louis)
Ann Tenbrunsel (Notre Dame)
Elizabeth E. Umphress (U of Washington)
Abhijeet Vadera (Singapore Management U
Marius Van Dijke (RSM Erasmus U).

 

 

Independence – A Central Tenet of the Work of an Ombuds

by Gregory K. Stephens, Ph.D., AOM Ombuds

On occasion, when faced with knotty disputes, I have shared the issues with a long-time mediation partner (now retired) and asked for feedback and creative insight. Part of the reason those conversations were so valuable to me was because, though she was insightful, wise, and careful, she had (as we say in Texas) “no dog in the hunt.” That is, she was an independent resource, one who I could depend upon to be thoughtful and unbiased, and who would not be obligated to share my challenges with someone in authority.

This, at its core, describes the first of the Standards of Practice under which we operate as Ombuds for the Academy of Management — Independence. We are independent from other organizational entities, such as the Ethical Adjudication Committee. We do not hold other positions within the AOM that might compromise our independence. Within the constraints of the other IOA Standards of Practice, Confidentiality, Neutrality, and Informality (to be discussed in our next blog post) we have discretion over whether or how to act in response to  an individual’s concern or trending issues of concern to multiple individuals. In short, we do not have pressures to reveal information or act in any obligatory way, outside of our concern for the individual.

In practical terms, what this means is that we can help our “visitors” navigate the policies and procedures of the AOM organization, see their issues through different eyes, explore different ways of handling their concerns, and even deal with both parties in a dispute (again, acknowledging and abiding by expectations for confidentiality, impartiality, and neutrality). Because we are independent from formal disciplinary mechanisms, we are not obligated to reveal information shared in conversations with our visitors, nor are we expected to share individually identifiable issues with others in the AOM hierarchy.

Independence of the Ombuds in any organization is important to avoid both the reality and appearance of divided loyalties. As Luis Piñero,  University of Wisconsin-Madison Assistant Vice Provost for Workforce Equity and Diversity, said, “Ombuds cannot be seen as extensions of the power structure. If they are not perceived as independent, people may not seek them out.” Our whole goal is to help our visitors to find ways to resolve their concerns and disputes, with a goal of avoiding the blunt instrument of formal authority. Achieving that goal would be difficult or impossible without independence.

We (the AOM Ombuds) are here to help, and want to serve the dispute resolution needs of the members of the Academy of Management. We commit to abide by the Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association, including independence, and the Academy of Management has likewise committed to those standards. If you have questions or if you are in need of our services, please reach out to us at Ombuds@aom.org.

AOM, Political Positions & Realities

In this tumultuous political climate, many professional associations and research institutes are finding themselves in a challenging situation. The AOM is not immune. Indeed, the global nature of the Academy means we have a number of complex dilemmas to consider, as well as practical problems associated with travel to the annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia next summer.

The Academy’s Executive Committee advanced a proposal to amend the policy on political stands:

“On February 5th, the Executive Committee unanimously approved an amendment to allow stands on an exceptional basis. This amendment was approved on February 10th in an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Governors. The AOM will take a stand when our purpose, existence, or function as an organization is threatened. The policy will be embargoed for 90 days while a task force explores how the policy will be elaborated and implemented (please see below for additional information on both the policy and the task force).”

In the meantime, it is important that leaders and members know what can and can’t be said and done in the name of the Academy of Management.  Please take a moment to review updated answers to frequently asked questions.

The mission of the AOM is to “To build a vibrant and supportive community of scholars by markedly expanding opportunities to connect and explore ideas.” Our Code of Ethics reminds us of of our commitment to “respect the dignity and worth of all people” and points out that “Academy members have a duty to consider their responsibilities to the world community.” Standing for our values and principles is easy when they aren’t tested!

We are also exploring a range of member suggestions, such as increased reliance on web-based technologies and video-conferencing. If you are directly affected by the ban, or you have suggestions for other ways in which we can support and enable scholarly participation by affected scholars, contact Taryn Fiore at tfiore@aom.org.

 

Let’s explore ethics in Anaheim!

ethics clipartThe AOM annual meeting is just around the corner. If you are like me, you are sifting through the ginormous digital program to constructyou a personal schedule– and hoping it will require you to run around too much in order to attend the sessions that interest you.

If ethics is a topic of interest, perhaps this compilation of sessions will help you find the ones you want to attend:

Sessions about Ethics 
AOM 2016 Annual Meeting Custom Program for Ethics

Of course, I hope you’ll join us in the Ethics Education Committee Open Forum sessions on Saturday! All are welcome: students, practitioners, new and experienced academics from any Division.

These Open Fora give us a chance to discuss issues and concerns related to our membership in the Academy of Management as well as in our academic and professional lives. The Ethics Education Committee truly listens to the dilemmas and great examples shared in the sessions and we use the notes to guide our activities in the coming year.

Open Forum on Ethical Scholarship
Program Session: 423 | Submission: 18385 | Sponsor(s): (AAA)
Scheduled: Saturday, Aug 6 2016 4:00PM – 5:30PM at Anaheim Marriott in Elite Ballroom 1

Facilitators Janet Salmons, Deborah Mullen, and Charles Fenner will catalyze discussion about ethical dilemmas in research, instruction, and publication arenas. 

The 2nd forum will focus on global issues in Academy membership and our field. Luckily, no running is involved between our sessions!

Open Forum on Global Ethics for Business & Academia
Program Session: 454 | Submission: 18386 | Sponsor(s): (AAA)
Scheduled: Saturday, Aug 6 2016 5:45PM – 7:15PM at Anaheim Marriott in Elite Ballroom 1

Special guests: Jonas Haertle, Head, Principles for Responsible Management Education Sec & Academic Affairs, UN Global Compact Office, United Nations

and

Mark Meaney, Chairperson, North America Chapter
Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

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.

 

 

Ethics: What is expected of AOM Members?

ethics-cropped-1024x555Did you realize that as a member of the Academy of Management you “agree to uphold and promote the principles of the ‘AOM_Code_of_Ethics’ and to adhere to its enforced ethical standards”? Do you know what principles and standards you agreed to uphold?

Like most people, you probably think the Code of Ethics exists as a reference to consult when things go horribly wrong.   Understandably, studying the AOM Code of Ethics is probably at the very bottom of an extremely long to-do list.

So why would you read and think about the AOM Code of Ethics? First, yourightandwrongdecisions might want to know what the AOM expects of you as a member, and what you can expect of other members. Are there specific ethical guidelines you should know about, as related to participation in activities in your Divisions, committees, the annual conference or other AOM events? What about guidelines for your professional life outside of AOM– as a researcher, instructor, consultant, or as a student?

Second, you might want to know where you can find help or answers when you encounter ethical dilemmas. Who should you go to within the Academy? What are the roles of the Ethics Committee including the Ombuds Committee, the Adjudication Committee, as well as the Ethics Education Committee (EEC)?

Finally, you might want to know what is contained in the current Academy of Management Code of Ethics, so you can provide input on periodic revisions. How can we make sure this Code is up-to-date and relevant given emerging dilemmas in our world?

The Ethics Education Committee is here to help. At the coming Annual Meeting in Anaheim we can offer the following types of sessions for your meeting, Division Consortium or Committee:

  1.  Presentation and Discussion: A 60-minute interactive session on business and professional ethics, values and the AOM Code of Ethics.
  2. Overview and Q & A: A 30-minute introduction to the AOM Code of Ethics, who does what at the Academy in the ethics area, including the role of the Ombuds.
  3.  Discussant: An EEC member can attend an ethics session you are offering, and answer questions as needed about the AOM Code, Ombuds roles etc.

Please contact EEC Chair Janet Salmons (jsalmons[at]vision2lead.com or with the contact form below) to discuss ways the EEC can help ensure that new and returning members your area of the Academy are familiar with the principles and standards they agreed to uphold.

The EEC will also be offering these opportunities for discussion at the Annual Meeting:

  • Open Forum on Ethical Scholarship on Saturday, August 06 from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM Anaheim Marriott, Elite Ballroom 1.
  • Open Forum on Global Ethics for Business & Academia on Saturday, August 06 from 5:45 PM – 7:15 PM at the Anaheim Marriott, Elite Ballroom 1.
  • Committee Meeting: If you are interested in joining us, our (open) meeting will be held Sunday, August 07, from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM at the Anaheim Marriott, Elite Ballroom 1.