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Doing The Right Thing * digital free * (Diversity) 5 pages

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Doing The Right Thing by Hank Karp & Bob Abramms. Reprint of article from Training & Development, August 1992. Business ethics as seen from diverse vantage points.

The question of ethics is a constant dilemma for today's organizations. Ask almost anyone in a business suit if he or she believes in the importance of ethics and you will hear a resounding "yes." But if you ask what is meant by ethics, the range of responses may reveal that everyone is talking about something different. At one extreme, ethics are viewed as a set of high moral principals. At the other end of the scale, they are a set of specific behaviors whose only function is to keep a person out of the slammer.

The main problem in dealing with ethics is that there is no universal definition, no clear objectives, and no agreement on appropriate behaviors. We'll continue to spin our wheels until we come up with a conceptual framework that is simple, functional, and acceptable to anyone who wants to deal with the subject. And the framework has to be complemented by a process that makes sense for most people and that allows ethics to be incorporated as a practical part of people's everyday work lives. This article provides a conceptual framework to readers, offerring a pragmatic view of ethics from a new reference point. Consider the following multiple-choice question:
At
the point of decision, ALL decision are * A) purely objective * B) purely subjective * C) a combination of objectives and subjective.

Most people would answer "C," a combination of object and subjective. But the correct answer is "B," purely subjective.

Regardless of the amount of cognitive work that goes into collecting and analyzing information, at the point of decision, the moment you say "I want," or "I choose," you are 100 percent into the realm of subjectivity. So the statements, "I want to see an end to world hunger," and "I want to see profits up 4 percent by the end of this quarter," are equally subjective.

Since all decisions are subjective in nature at the point of decision are, it follows that all decision are determined by values.  

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