ethics is a developing field that recognizes a dynamic in
organizational life that requires its own special attention
regardless of the purpose of the organization. Organizational
ethics is one of the four broad categories of applied and
figure above depicts the integration of applied ethics as
four overlapping circles of ethical theory and practice:
of Social Purpose
each circle are applied ethics approaches raising and treating
issues distinct to its own arena. A contribution from each
circle is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for
an effective ethics system. Ethical leadership, at all levels,
identifies those approaches that are appropriate to a particular
organization or community and integrates them. In an organization,
these overlap are where awareness,
imagination, inquiry, judgment, and action are brought
together by leadership. Ethical leadership identifies and
integrates the approaches within each circle that are appropriate
for the organization.
the Ethics of Social Responsibility are three broad
categories: government, for-profit, and not-for-profit.
Each type of organization has broadly different responsibilities
within society, which are of the essence of its nature.
has different key participants and opportunities for and
constraints on action.
essence of government is its monopoly on the exercise
of coercion and violence within a community: the police,
the military, and the courts. Its participants are governors,
the governed, and the aliens. Bureaucracy and stability
characterizes its institutions.
essence of for-profits is meeting the most urgent needs
of owners and consumers through free exchange: business
and the professions. Profits and adapting to changing
customer needs characterizes its institutions.
essence of not-for-profits is meeting the needs and values
of a community without coercion or exchange: charity or
philanthropy. Its participants are charitable organizations
or associations, beneficiaries, and donors. Recognizing
needs of the community and soliciting community support
characterize its institutions.
are the essences, but there is much overlap, which makes
ethical policy more difficult. In the area of health care,
for example, federal subsidization of corporate employee
benefits and Medicare and Medicaid is a situation where
government, business, and the not-for-profit merge to the
great confusion of policy-makers.
these functions may merge within any particular organization.
For example, the military may take on humanitarian assistance,
a business may contribute to the opera society, or an educational
institution may contract for consulting services. Nonetheless,
complete understanding requires keeping the essence of any
organizational entity-and its avowed social purpose-firmly
there are levels of socials responsibility for each sector.
business, for example, there are at least three levels:
Social Responsibility is to be accountable for meeting
the most urgent needs of consumers in the most effective
and efficient manner with due regard to the impact of
operations on the environment.
Citizen Social Responsibility is to meet the most
urgent needs of consumers, as described above, without
harming the longer-term interests of the consumers or
those otherwise affected, or doing so unethically, which
precludes using economic power to gain competitive advantage
solely through political means.
Social Responsibility is going beyond the requirements
of the lower levels, that is, taking actions that are
good for the community if taken, but otherwise responsible,
if not taken.
through this lens, a business organization that effectively
and efficiently meets the most urgent needs of consumers
is socially responsible. That is precisely what it
is responsible to the community for doing. Contributing
to local charities or the Opera Guild to the extent that
the organization is unable to effectively and efficiently
meet consumer needs would be essentially irresponsible.
Ethics of Social Purpose include the various bodies
of values and principles that govern a particular practice.
Examples of social purpose ethics include: medical ethics,
nursing ethics, banking ethics, legal ethics, biomedical
ethics, and accounting ethics. Which bodies of ethics apply
to a particular organization depends upon its vision and
the tasks required to achieve it.
Ethics of Organizational Life is the domain of the structures,
systems, practices, procedures, and protocols necessary
for a body of people to achieve their shared visions in
accordance with its core purpose and values and organizational
culture. The thrust of organizational ethics is to increase
human energy, knowledge, and trust-and to drive out fear.
Organizational ethics applies to all organizational life,
regardless of specific social purpose. As such, it shapes
the process and content of dialogue and the context for
ethical awareness, reasoning, leadership, and action. It
is where ethical leadership may perhaps best be exercised,
again at all levels.
Ethics is that body of concepts, values, and principles
that both defines opportunities for life and places limits
on freedom of action in the struggle for existence. All
of ethics evolved so far rests upon a single premise: that
the individual is a member of a community of interdependent
parts. These approaches have largely been centered on the
human community to the exclusion of the world around it.
ethics enlarges the boundaries of the relevant community
to include soils, water, plants, and animals, or collectively-the
land. This enlargement of the community requires more than
applying existing theory to a broader community, however.
the community-more properly reentering the broader community-requires
a rethinking of economics and politics as well. It also
requires looking to the broader community for concepts,
values, principles and practices to guide our individual
and organizational behavior.
ethics is the domain of the relationships between our species
and world of which we are an integral part. It is the most
fundamental of all approaches to applied ethics. It addresses
who we are, what the rest of the world is, and our relationship
to the world as a whole. In its most fundamental and comprehensive
form, it is each individual's worldview. Following the distinction
made between worldview and ideology by the Austrian Economist,
Ludwig von Mises, the first three circles represent ideologies,
ways thought to be good or best to deal with the world as
a whole. But this circle of environmental ethics represents
what is the best way to approach a world of which we are
an integral part, a worldview.
the application of this model in the area of health care.
Applied Ethics Integration Model:
concept was first proposed by Ken Johnson in an August 1997
article in the newsletter, Ethical Management.