Ethical By-Standers: Is anyone home?
As we mentioned earlier, huge sums of money are seldom taken by one individual, with no one else being aware of it. Yet, no one speaks up. You hear just as many objections out of an empty room.

Ethics always seems to be someone else's problem. As we stated previously, in our research on the five most common ethical violations on Indian reservations, many of the respondents listed more than five infractions and an overwhelming majority of them said that these infractions occurred “all the time”.

If all of these people knew that these infractions were occurring "all the time", why hasn't anyone done anything?

There is a real disconnect between tribal members who filled out the surveys and those who were asked if they would be interested in taking a course in tribal ethics. Most tribal members were not personally interested in taking a course in ethics, but they insisted everyone else should take it.
  • One tribal member stated, "Boy the Housing Board could use it.”
  • A member of the Housing Board said, “the Tribal Council needs it for sure.”
  • Then, a tribal council member would say, “I know several programs directors that should really attend this training.”

“I have learned through my work that employees often take offense at ethics training and slip into silence-and-fear mode because they believe that it is the leadership in their companies that is unethical, not them. Statistics from the Society for Human Resource Management bear this out. In 1999, 99 percent of employees believed that their ethical standards were higher then those of the folks they worked with. Everyone believes that he or she is the most ethical person in the room. That attitude makes employees resent training, see only the mote in others’ eyes, and fail to engage in the serious introspection of questioning their behavior and what their organizations are doing” (Jennings, pg. 95).

We have seen this over and over and over. My question is, if you are so ethical and you see these people around you dong unethical things, why don’t you do/say something about it?