“Ethical Thinking Isn’t Automatic”

By Linda Fisher Thornton

“For ethical leadership to stick, the culture needs an infrastructure that consistently supports acting on stated values…Ethical cultures treat ethical thinking as something that must be cultivated, demonstrated, and practiced over time.”

My article, “Ethical Thinking Isn’t Automatic,” featured in the August issue of the Talent Development Journal, describes five culture gaps that inhibit ethical leadership. These culture gaps are common problems that organizations should watch for and avoid.

You won’t want to miss this article. It includes advice to organizations wanting to build ethical cultures, and is grounded in decades of experience and observations about where cultures often fall short.

“Companies fall into five common traps on the way to building an ethics-rich culture: no active focus on values, oversimplification of complex issues, lack of behavior boundaries, lack of integration, and ignoring the learning curve.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Ethical Thinking Isn’t Automatic, Talent Development Journal

Ethical thinking doesn’t happen without the infrastructure to support it. Does your organization have it in place or is it burdened with one of the five culture gaps? Read the full article to learn how to identify and resolve five common culture gaps that erode ethical leadership.

Subscribe at LeadinginContext.com/Blog.


  1. I always enjoy your posts and appreciate your insights. Because ethical issues are so much a part of my personal upbringing (in a very conservative Illinois community and at an even more conservative academic institution where I obtained three degrees), I naturally fell into thinking about ethics a great deal.

    As a result, I wrote an ethics-related doctoral dissertation and ended up writing a number of papers about trust, trustworthiness, and ethical leadership. Having been a practitioner (City Manager, Human Resource Professional, and Management Consultant) for many years, I found that ethical dilemmas and issues were everywhere whenever decisions were made in organizations.

    In my last few years, I have found that I am even more focused on ethical issues and values in my personal life — and that focus is reflected in the books I have written and the journal articles that I submit for publication. My sensitivity to ethical values and the impact of decisions on people and organizations is also reflected as I continue to teach at the university level.

    My personal opinion is that we each know within ourselves what constitutes “right and wrong.” I love the idea expressed by Cecil B. Demille that we can’t really break the universal laws of life — but we can only break ourselves against them. That idea reflects my own personal experiences.

    Blessings to you!



Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: