By Linda Fisher Thornton
We are globally connected and becoming more aware of the complexity of our connections. We need a robust understanding of ethics – what it means, what it requires of us, and what we need to know and do to be ethical.
As we learn about ethics, we need to understand it in a multidimensional way. One-dimensional definitions lead us down a single path and prevent us from seeing our broad responsibilities as citizens and leaders.
Here is a quick tour of ways to think about ethics – only by honoring all of them will we have a chance of keeping up with increasing ethical expectations.
Ethics is Required Of All of Us
“Ethics or simple honesty is the building blocks upon which our whole society is based, and business is a part of our society, and it’s integral to the practice of being able to conduct business, that you have a set of honest standards.”
Ethics is Moral Awareness
“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”
Ethics is More Than Meeting Minimum Standards
Ethics is Thinking Beyond Ourselves
“While egoism may be a strong motivator of human behavior, ethics traditionally assumes that human beings are also capable of acting from a concern for others that is not derived from a concern for their own welfare.”
Andre and Velasquez, Santa Clara University
Ethics is Caring About Others
“The ethics of care starts from the premise that as humans we are inherently relational, responsive beings and the human condition is one of connectedness or interdependence.”
Ethics is Doing Good and Preventing Harm
“Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life it is bad to damage and destroy life.”
Ethics is Caring For the Planet and Society
“Corporate Social Responsibility, or “CSR,” refers to the need for businesses to be good corporate citizens. CSR involves going beyond the law’s requirements in protecting the environment and contributing to social welfare. It is widely accepted as an obligation of modern business.”
Ethics Unwrapped, University of Texas
Ethics is a Journey of Human Growth
“Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality.”
See also 7 Definitions of Good: Why We Disagree About Ethics
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Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.
Linda, as always, you offer valuable insights into the discussion of ethics and leadership. So often, people assert, “Why, of course, I am ethical!”
Part of the problem is that there are a multitude of ethical perspectives — each with a philosophical foundation and justification. Your excellent points reaffirm that perhaps we are looking for a different question, “What do we mean by moral conduct and how should it be measured?”
Thank you for your wise contribution to such an important topic.