Leading Blog






09.28.06

Ethics: Reinforcing Fixed Points

Ethics Reinforcing Fixed Points

HERE IS A GOOD comment on the dynamics of ethics in a changing world from The Ethical Challenge (2003) in a chapter entitled Ethics, Virtuousness, and Constant Change by Kim Cameron, professor at the University of Michigan Business School:
winding road When nothing is stable—when they have no fixed points, dependable principles, or stable benchmarks—people tend to make up their own rules. They make sense of the ambiguity and chaos they experience by deciding for themselves what is real and what is appropriate.

Recently, it has become clear that in high-pressure, high-velocity environments, some people in the energy-trading, telecommunications, and accounting industries simply made up their own rules. They ended up cheating, or lying, or waffling not only because it was to their economic advantage but because they had created their own rationale for what was acceptable. Conditions were changing constantly, and they let their rules change with them.

The danger of constantly changing conditions illustrates why ethics, values, and principles are more important now than ever. They serve as fixed points. They determine what is right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, on a universal basis, every time.


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