The news of the day filters into our classrooms. Students think about how they can reconcile the desire to address social ills and injustices with success in the business world. Those of us who teach are challenged to find productive ways to bring ethics into the conversation. Giving Voice to Values (GVV) offers a timely set of FREE resources for doing so and they are available online. Also see a recent Harvard Business Review article: Talking About Ethics Across Cultures by Mary C. Gentile, December 2016.
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 pedagogy and curriculum are about raising those odds.
Rather than a focus on ethical analysis, the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) curriculum focuses on ethical implementation and asks the question: “What if I were going to act on my values? What would I say and do? How could I be most effective?”
Here are some tips for discussing ethics and values in your classroom:
- Try using some GVV-style, post-decision-making case studies, that end not with a protagonist who has decided what is right and invite students to work together to craft, script and share effective action plans for getting the right thing done.
- Be sure to focus on cases that feature protagonists are various levels in the organization, not just the CEO, so the students can begin practicing how to create effective strategies right from the start.
- Provide opportunities for peer-coaching around the most promising scripts and action plans. See the “Guidelines for Peer Coaching” document in the GVV Case Collection at http://store.darden.virginia.edu/giving-voice-to-values
- Use the popular GVV exercise, “A Tale of Two Stories” as an introduction the approach, also available at http://store.darden.virginia.edu/giving-voice-to-values
GVV is being used all over the world– in over 970 business schools, businesses and other settings. This approach to leadership development was pioneered by Ethics Education Committee member Dr. Mary C. Gentile. GVV cases and materials draw on business practitioners’ experiences, as well as social science and management research.
What does it mean to act ethically?
Is it basically to “do the right thing”? We only have to peer out of our office windows to see that what one thinks is the right thing, the appropriate attitude, justifiable behavior, is utterly, perhaps terrifyingly wrong to someone else. What is the right thing, and who is the arbiter?
As academics, scholar practitioners, or students, much of our work is done privately. No one can see what we’re doing when we’re crafting a paper, analyzing data, or conducting a peer review on someone else’s work. If we cut corners or cheat the risk may not be obvious, or it may take time before those closed-door deeds become public. Other activities are public, and may have an immediate impact on other’s well-being, or careers. Even so, the right action, the ethical behavior, may not be entirely clear.
Members of the Academy need to be on the same page about what is right, and we can readily find that page– it’s called our Code of Ethics. The code spells out expectations for all of us in General and Professional Principles. Ethical Standards spell out “enforceable rules” for activities within the context of the AOM.
All members are expected to uphold the Code, but it is clear that many have not reviewed it to see what they have endorsed by joining the AOM, or perhaps wait until a problem arises before consulting it.
Like any document of this kind, it is useless unless we bring it to life in the ways that we think and act. The Ethics Education Committee (EEC) is responsible for bringing the Code of Ethics to the attention of our members– and the Ombuds Committee is responsible for providing guidance when dilemmas arise. EEC members are available to assist your Division Consortia, or other sessions you offer at the annual conference. We offer a flexible menu of options, and encourage you to contact us to discuss the best way we can work together in Atlanta.
We can offer the following types of sessions for your meeting, Division Consortium or Committee:
- Presentation and Discussion: A 60-minute interactive session to provide a broad overview of business and professional ethics, values and the AOM Code of Ethics.
- Focused Session and Discussion: A 30 to 60-minute session on a specific topic such as academic honesty, ethical dilemmas in collaborative research and writing, or an area you identify.
- Q & A Forum: Collect the questions your doctoral students or early career faculty have about ethics and the AOM in advance, and will come prepared to answer, and discuss them.
- Code and Procedures FAQ: 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 and ways to get help.
- Discussant: An EEC member can attend an ethics session you are offering in a consortium, PDW, or symposium, 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 Academy of Management Ethics Education Committee (EEC) focuses primarily on “educating” AOM members about how to understand our Code of Ethics and use ethical practices in our work as researchers, practitioners, and teachers. When we are in instructional roles, we have a responsibility to develop the next generation in the management field—hopefully with some sense of ethical ways to practice their chosen professions. We may teach courses devoted to business ethics, but more likely, we may want to create opportunities to incorporate a focus on ethics in courses on other leadership and management topic.
To encourage an exchange of ideas and approaches, the EEC is partnering with the Business Ethics Education Initiative at Kansas State University to publish novel tips for teaching ethics in virtual and face-to-face classrooms. Presently, seven such tips are published on the K-State Initiative website in the section called “Ethics Education,” and soon these tips will be published here on The Ethicist as well.
The AOM Ethics Education Committee invites Academy members to submit your Teaching Tips by sending an abstract of 50 to 100 words that describes your novel method for teaching ethics, along with a link to the fuller description. Please send tips to ethics[at]vision2lead.com. For format guidance, see the examples of Teaching Tips published at the Kansas State University site in the section called “Ethics Education” at this link. Select Teaching Tips will be published here and on the K-State Ethics Education Initiative site.
See a popular example from Diane Swanson, Professor of Management at Kansas State University and Ethics Education Committee member. She uses three Star Trek characters to introduce students to ethics in decision making and the importance of moral courage. Students read her short essay “To Go Boldly! Trekking for Moral Courage” as a point of departure for exploring these topics in class.
We hope by sharing our approaches online throughout the year and at the annual conference, we can create a worthwhile forum where members can interact regarding their roles as ethical instructors who practice what they teach.
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, lately, which in part accounts for my relative silence over the past few weeks. However, in the course of traveling, I keep coming across a set of similar stories, from throughout the world, although principally from developing countries, in particular, China and those in Africa.
The stories tend to be similar, in terms of exploitation of doctoral or junior faculty members, and go like this:
“At our university, the senior faculty insist that their names go first on every paper I produce, even those that they have not contributed to, in any way”.
“At our university, doctoral students do all the data collection analysis, and writing, but our names are never put on the paper – only that of the senior faculty”.
When I hear these stories, as both a scholar and an editor, I am outraged. How is it that faculty members can openly exploit students and junior scholars is such a blatant fashion? Why is it that no professional organization exists to come to their defense? Unfortunately, we are collectively partially responsible, as the publish or perish norms and intense competition that we have helped develop only exacerbates this problem. It is, after all, a collective problem.
Of course, the exploitation of students is not entirely new. The recent movie “the Stanford Prison Experiment” shows the extent to which Lombardo went during his study, and the expense those participants must have paid. Zimbardo, then an ambitious recently tenured scholar, was a consultant on the film, and it reportedly accurately reflects what took place. His subsequent work was devoted to more pristine socially progressive causes, such as understanding shyness. No surprise there…
Our code of ethics does address these issues, although not as directly as one might think. For example, on the aspiration side, with regard to integrity:
AOM members seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of their profession. In these activities AOM members do not steal, cheat, or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. They strive to keep their promises, to avoid unwise or unclear commitments, and to reach for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and practice. They treat students, colleagues, research subjects, and clients with respect, dignity, fairness, and caring. They accurately and fairly represent their areas and degrees of expertise.
Regarding specifically students:
- To our students. Relationships with students require respect, fairness, and caring, along with commitment to our subject matter and to teaching excellence. We accomplish these aims by:
Showing respect for students. It is the duty of AOM members who are educators to show appropriate
respect for students’ feelings, interests, needs, contributions, intellectual freedom, and rights to
privacy. Maintaining objectivity and fairness. It is the duty of AOM members who are educators to treat students equitably. Impartiality, objectivity, and fairness are required in all dealings with students.
1.6. Exploitative Relationships: AOM members do not exploit persons over whom they have evaluative or other authority, such as authors, job seekers, or student members.
4.2.2. Authorship Credit
184.108.40.206. AOM members ensure that authorship and other publication credits are based on the scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved.
220.127.116.11. AOM members take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they
have actually performed or to which they have contributed.
18.104.22.168. AOM members usually list a student as principal author on multiply authored publications that substantially derive from the student’ s dissertation or thesis.
I underlined the word “usually” under 22.214.171.124. I assume that the exception referred to are situations where the student would not be listed as principal author, but would be listed as co-author (although what these would be, and why they would be exceptions, is a bit of a mystery to me). However, it appears that from the perspective of some of our international members, this ‘exception’ may leave open the interpretation that a scholar may occasionally NOT cite a student as co-author, even when they are a principal author. Further, and unfortunately, there is no mention of adding authorship to work where the scholar did NOT make a contribution (although 126.96.36.199 does seem to imply that such a deed would not be welcome).
So, what can we do collectively to eradicate this practice of exploitive advising? How can we get the message across different cultures and institutions that when an author submits a paper, the assumption by the editor – indeed, the social contract – ensures that an appropriate amount of work has been conducted by that author reflecting the order of authorship? Further, perhaps it is time our code of ethics become a bit more specific regarding some of these practices, in order to make it explicitly clear that exploitation of any sort is unwelcome in our profession.
- Lorraine Eden, Texas A&M University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kathy Lund Dean, Gustavus Adolphus College, email@example.com
- Paul Vaaler, University of Minnesota, firstname.lastname@example.org
As Thomas Basboll’s post on THE ETHICIST (February 2, 2015) indicates, it is time for THE ETHICIST to engage in “A Change of Pace,” and take on new bloggers. We are delighted that the Academy of Management is continuing with this important community engagement space, and that Benson Honig and Thomas Basboll are taking on the lead blogging roles. We have a significant sense of ownership over the future of THE ETHICIST and plan to continue to be part of the blog, writing from time to time ourselves, as the blog moves ahead with new authors, editors and topics.
As we look back on the last several years since the inception of THE ETHICIST, it’s interesting to see how blogging itself has evolved. Much of the advice of best blogging practices reinforces what Thomas will change about THE ETHICIST, including shorter and more frequent posts, and expanding the scope of the discussions. The international diplomacy-building organization DiploFoundation recommends using the “E.K.G.” approach for blogging: Engage with other blogs and your own readers, Keep the material fresh and exciting, and Give people a reason to return. The blog hosting site HubSpot says readers want to see the blogger’s personality come out, and that readers come back to blogs that treat topics in unusual and cross-disciplinary ways. All of this advice mirrors plans for THE ETHICIST and we are looking forward to seeing energetic treatment of ethical issues.
The common advice about blogging — no matter whose advice one takes — revolves around content: compelling, thoughtful and timely content is the make-or-break blog factor. And in this respect, we are confident that THE ETHICIST will broaden its community reach with Thomas and Benson at the helm. There is so much to share about how the Academy is integrating ethical practice into meetings and member resources, and how we as an academic community are grappling with significant ethical questions. All five of us are members of the Ethics Education Committee; we have facilitated lively discussions throughout the Academy in multiple ways and venues: at doctoral consortia, via webinars, through YouTube video discussions, and in myriad annual meeting sessions. We have found our fellow Academy members, particularly doctoral students, to be enormously interested in how to do the right thing, and how to resolve conflicts in ethics in ways that allow them to flourish.
Thank you to everyone who has supported THE ETHICIST so far. We gratefully acknowledge in particular the help of Terese Loncar; our advisory panels for research, teaching and professional life; members of the Ethics Education Committee and the Board of Governors of the Academy of Management; and our home departments. We look forward to the great new conversations and connections to be made ahead.
Lorraine, Kathy & Paul
In my column last month, I wrote about some of the ethical issues with student evaluations of teaching (SET), using Quinn’s competing values model. Among my top concerns are serious and documented validity issues with SET instruments, as well as how external stakeholders may use SET data as a big stick to weed out faculty who offer unpopular or controversial viewpoints, or who may be judged as ineffective based on this single (mostly invalid) instrument. In this column, I want to talk more about the “now what?” aspect of SETs.
Key Insight: Bob Giacalone and Mark Promislo co-authored an article in the most recent Academy of Management Learning & Education, entitled, “Broken when Entering: The Stigmatization of Goodness and Business Ethics Education.” In this month’s column, I first react to their work, and then share some of my conversation with Bob about the article. I also fielded some reactions from Kabrina Krebel Chang of Boston University, who is directing the School of Management’s comprehensive new ethics education effort.
With the February 2013 blog post on “Ethics in Research Scenarios: What Would YOU Do?”, The Ethicist has now published two dozen blogs on three areas of ethics that affect not only AOM members, but all members of the scholarly professions: research, teaching and professional life. Links to each of these posts are provided below, together with a downloadable one-page PDF for printing and circulation. Enjoy!
KEY INSIGHT: James Davis and Susan Madsen (former co-chairs of AOM’s Ethics Education Committee (EEC)) have developed four ethics in research scenarios, which they, EEC members and journal editors have taught to multiple doctoral consortia at the AOM annual meetings since 2008. In this blog posting, Jim and Susan introduce their scenarios. A short annotated list of internet resources on teaching research ethics follows. We hope that these resources will stimulate discussion about research ethics among the faculty and doctoral students at your institution. The Ethicist has migrated from AOM Connect and “gone public”; the blog is freely available for reading and download at http://divtest.aom.org/ethics/. Comments are welcome, and you are encouraged to circulate this blog posting (and earlier ones) to your colleagues and students.