Almost every single tribal worker I meet admits ethical training is sorely needed and would like very much to see it happen and implemented. However, it is frustrating to hear the same tribal workers talk about ethical violations in the work place, yet not once hear any of them admit maybe they could be more ethical. Not one of them says, "I would like to attend a work ethics class to see how I can improve my work habits."
I am convinced the majority of tribal workers know the difference between ethical and unethical workplace behavior because, during my Phase I presentations, I could actually see embarrassment on the faces of many tribal workers when I mentioned some of the more common ethical violations (chronic tardiness/absenteeism, two hour lunches, falsifying time sheets, etc.), and related it to one of our core values (courage, honesty, perseverance/fortitude and generosity). For example, I talked how showing up for work late and leaving early, yet still claiming 40 hours of work, is in reality stealing and lying. "Are you comfortable being a liar and a thief?" I would say, and I would see the shame on some faces. However, I am willing to bet none of them changed their work habits.
Here is the big mystery, if most tribal workers know the difference between ethical and unethical work force behavior and are at times ashamed of their behavior, why do they go back and commit the same ethical violations day after day?
Personally, I think most tribal workers start work as good, honest, and ethical individuals, but over time, having observed unethical workers enjoying the fruits of their unethical behavior, they eventually succumb to the temptation and they to, start practicing unethical behavior.
Now you might say, I will never become as unethical as "they" are. Be careful that you do not speak too soon. Unethical workforce behavior is hard to resist. Why? Plenty of reasons . . . you might have a hard time getting to work on time in the mornings. As you look around and see fellow workers coming in late, but still getting eight hours of pay, it will not be hard for you to start doing the very same thing. In addition, you might have a variety of personal business issues that you just can't seem to find the time to do. The half hour or hour you have for lunch is not enough time for you to do them and still get something to eat and gossip with your friends. Eventually, you will do what you observe unethical workers do all the time. Take time off during the day, or take two hour lunch breaks to attend to your personal business. After all, everyone is doing it and/or the supervisors/tribal council members don't seem to care - so, you see how easy it will be to slip into unethical behavior, if you haven't already?
In a work atmosphere where unethical violations are ignored, tolerated, and laughed and joked about, the only defense you have to not commit to them, yourself, is self-honesty, also known as self-awareness. When people with good self-awareness recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and when they see the need to change and they do, others, with poor self-awareness, consider any criticism a threat, and they immediately go on the offense attacking anyone who points out their unethical behavior. Admitting one's weak points isn't a sign of weakness, but of self-honesty. If you can take a realistic view of yourself, you are probably also able to take a realistic view of the organization you work for, and not succumb to the temptations of unethical behavior.