Ethics: Addressing Issues and Challenges
The ethics of an evaluation rest solely on the values and personal convictions of the researcher. Newman and Brown (1996) define ethics as the science of rules and standards of conduct and practice (Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2001). Unfortunately, on a daily basis or so it seems are articles, blogs, and twitters of unethical conduct by those in leadership positions. Does Congressman Weiner ring a bell? It clearly seems that business leaders have yet to learn from the shenanigans, which were commonplace at Enron and Adelphia before their demise. Unfortunately, one does not have to look back to the Enron debacle; President Obama’s current cabinet appointments by most account do not pass ethical muster. Government now has an admitted tax cheat in charge of the IRS, lobbyist procuring armament, and bankers who failed advising financial systems. The backdrop for the current researcher combines the aforementioned with Bernard Madoff, the master of using his charisma to draw deep-pocketed unsuspecting clients. The Economic Times writes, “With little more than his wit and the implicit trust of his elite community, the silver-haired money manager is said to have pulled off a fraud of gargantuan proportions, conning thousands of savvy investors (Coleman, 2009).” Simply said, the biggest rip off in the history of mankind.
In this climate of bowling for billions, one must draw on personal convictions. How else can any person move forward with leadership integrity unless he or she has some internal resolve to do the right thing? Ancient writings describe what a person’s thought pattern should contain.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil 4:8, KJV)
How does one act if money or position comes into play? With so many justifications do glean from in Newspaper Headlines, what is to stop all of us from “profiting” - everybody else is doing it. As mentioned earlier personal convictions, keep leadership honest. Do we simply trust personal convictions? NO! In the terms of former President Ronald Reagan, we must trust but verify.
Dr. Phil Van Auken, professor of management at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University writes in their online article (2005), Church Health: Doing right things, doing things right, that organization operation is doing things right, and strategy is doing right things. The operational process focuses on developing programs and procedures. Russ-Eft (2001) reminds that learning, performance, and change professionals often find themselves caught between doing what they are asked and doing the right things. As a part of doing the right things Auken stresses quantity, quality, timing, costs, accountability and feedback. Costs, accountability, and feedback accentuate ethical responsibility:
Cost: Are resources being used at the planned rate and in reasonable proportion to anticipated results?
Accountability: Are actions being taken by the right people?
Feedback: Are the results of actions being collected, analyzed, and utilized to improve future performance (Johnson, 2005)?
To insure ethical procedures, organizations must couple the most conscientious, honest, and ethical leaders possible with stringent cost, accountability, and feedback procedures. Like all power it must be kept in-check. Unrestrained empowerment can be a value killer (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999).
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