Thinking Ethically: 5 Sources

How Will People Learn to Think Ethically if We Don’t Teach Them?

While we place a heavy emphasis on corporate education and childhood education as a nation, we don’t often see “learning to think ethically” on the classroom agenda or the corporate training schedule. How can people be expected to navigate the complexities of life and work responsibly without learning how to think ethically?

Ethical Thinking Helps us Behave Ethically

The most responsible and ethical response to a situation only becomes obvious by applying ethical thinking.

If you are teaching in a classroom or corporate setting and ethical thinking is not yet on your agenda, review these interesting sources and evaluate their application. See if you agree that ethical thinking needs to be one of the foundations included in childhood and corporate education.

5 Sources for Thinking Ethically

Five Ways to Think Ethically  Video Featuring Kirk O. Hanson, Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University

The Ethical Mirage: A Temporal Explanation as to Why We Aren’t as Ethical as We Think We Are - a Harvard Business School Working Paper by Tenbrunsel, Diekmann, Wade-Benzoni and Bazerman,

Should We? How to Think Ethically by Mary Ann Cutter Ph.D., University of Colorado

The Importance of Responsible Thinking by Bob Korn,

Teaching Children to Think Ethically by Susan Gardner, published in Analytical Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, posted online at

Questions for Reflection

1. Have we made it a priority to help people think ethically about their work?

2. How well are we teaching people the process of thinking ethically?

3. Do our leaders understand that ethical thinking does not just “happen” and that they need to coach people through it?

4. How will ethical thinking help our company in the future, in areas that include risk prevention and customer service?

5. How will we incorporate ethical thinking into our meetings and leadership training programs in 2012?

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO/Owner of Leading in Context, a leadership development firm providing leadership development in an ethical context.

You are invited to access the full benefits that Leading in Context provides to customers and subscribers:

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How Leading in Context® Publications Meet Your Needs:

#6: “We need leaders who can think ethically, both day-to-day and long term.”

In the Leading in Context® Store Now, Backed With a One-Year Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee:

EBK #L001  Module  “Ethical Implications of How Leaders Perceive ‘Different’”

This leader learning module helps leaders understand:

  • The importance of inclusion and respect for others, and how differences enhance business innovation
  • Which behaviors are we seeing in response to ‘different’ people and ideas? Engaging Full-Page Graphic of 5 Leader Perceptions of “Different” and Behaviors Associated With Each
  • Ethical implications of the 5 leader perceptions – which are most ethical? Least ethical? Visual Continuum for Discussion
  • How do I treat people who are different from me?  Individual Reflection Questions
  • How can we see past differences and use different perspectives as assets?  Discussion Questions and a Case Study for Group Learning
        Purchase includes rights to use the module to train employees on the payroll of one company

VID #001  Video  “The Evolving Leadership Context: Respectful Workplaces”

About Linda Fisher Thornton
Author of 7 Lenses, Speaker, Bringing Out the Best in People and Organizations Through Proactive Ethical Leadership, CEO Leading in Context, 2014 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior, Adj. Assist. Prof. of Ethics and Leadership, UR SPCS

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