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Question 1: Ethics and Organizational Ethics

These works contributed significantly to the development of the Organizational Integrity approach. Arranged by importance to the topic rather than alphabetically or chronologically, they-and other works-may be secured through this site by arrangement with Amazon.com.

Ethical issues: Brady makes the case that if significant harm or benefit to self or community is involved, it is an ethical issue. Leopold argues that the community should be considered the world of which we are a part. Csikszentmihalyi points to the delicate balance the organization strives to maintain to survive and thrive.

Ethics has Evolved:

Probably one of the more remarkable writings in the last decade is Robert M. Pirsig's Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals. Pirsig proposes that there is a fundamental evolutionary structure he calls the Metaphysics of Quality, which shows that there is not just one moral system. There are many:

  • There's a morality of the "laws of nature," by which organic patterns triumph over chaos;
  • There is a morality called the "law of the jungle" where biology triumphs over the inorganic forces of starvation and death;
  • There's a morality where social patterns triumph over biology, the "law"; and
  • There is an intellectual morality, which is still struggling in its attempts to escape the control of society. (182-83)

Pirsig argues that, in general, when given a choice of two courses to follow, and all other things being equal, that choice that is more Dynamic, that is, at a higher level of evolution, is more moral. (183) An evolutionary morality says it is moral for intellect to seek to subjugate society, to escape from the constraints of society, but it also contains a warning: Just as a society that weakens its people's physical health endangers its own stability, so does an intellectual pattern that weakens and destroys the health of its social base also endanger its own stability.

Any static mechanism that is open to Dynamic Quality must also be open to degeneracy—to falling back to lower forms of quality. This creates the problem of getting maximum freedom for the emergence of Dynamic Quality while prohibiting degeneracy from destroying the evolutionary gains of the past. (189) The whole thing, he says, is to obtain static and Dynamic Quality simultaneously. The challenge is to create a stable static situation where Dynamic Quality can flourish. Pirsig gives as an example Robert's Rules of Order, which captures the whole thing in two sentences: No minority has the right to block a majority from conducting the legal business of the organization. No majority has the right to prevent the minority from peacefully attempting to become a majority. (255)

First Principle of Ethics: This principle is based on the land ethic of Aldo Leopold. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989.

Ethical Codes and Moral Imagination: Ethical codes perform the function of limiting action, but do so in order to liberate moral imagination to achieve shared ends.

Change Tendencies in Evolution:

An Organization is an artificial person:

First Principle of Organizational Ethics:

Trust as foundation of Organizational Ethics:

Ethics, Economics & Politics:

Organizations as Communities: Reflecting our evolutionary development, successful organizations approach being communities, if not tribes.

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