What's the Big Deal About Ethical Decisions?

Talking to tribal members about improving ethics for tribal workers is like talking about a cure for cancer... everyone is for it and almost no one will speaks against it.  In fact, most people will talk at length about the unethical behavior of "other" tribal workers and how shameful they are.  Unfortunately that is all most people will do... talk about how much we need ethics in the work place but will do nothing about it.

Part of the problem is that we make many "ethical" decisions every day that have nothing to do with the work place. And we confuse what are actually practical decisions such as getting our of bed in morning, cooking breakfast for your children, sending children to school, going to work, cleaning house, etc., as ethical decisions.  According to the website, Arizona Character Education, "Those decisions don't necessarily involve right or wrong; they involve efficiency, availability, practicality or preference." Because most of us are proficient in making these easy "ethical" decisions we claim to be ethical individuals.

Unfortunately, these easy "ethical" decisions at home do nothing to prepare us for the tough decision we face everyday in the work place. And many of our workplace decision are about doing the right thing.  That is why when faced with a choice between a right and wrong decisions at work all to often we make a wrong or unethical decision.  For example, say you come to work late; you are faced with two choices: 1. Do I punch in and get docked for coming to work late?  2. Or, do I not punch in and write my (incorrect) time when I turn my time sheet in at the end of the week?  "In a split second our minds review the facts, explore our feelings, study consequences, compare the options against our beliefs and priorities, consider what others may think, and give the cue for action."  And in that split second say you make the decision not to punch in instead you decide to lie about the time you came in by writing the incorrect time on your time card when you turn it in.

Remember decisions may happen quickly but the consequences can last a lifetime. Pretty soon you will get in the habit of lying all the time.  (And quite possibly your children will grow up to be unethical also.) Say there is a change in the higher up administration.  Your new immediate supervisor has heard about your practice of falsifying your time card.  And he has the moral courage to conduct an investigation into your habit of falsifying your time card. Not only will you end up losing your job but your name is dragged through the mud, every one will be is talking about you etc, (of course if you have political connections you can run to them and against all sense of fairness you might be able to keep or return to your job). That's why careful consideration is important when you make any kind of workplace decisions.

Most, if not all tribal workers know the difference between right and wrong.  If you "forgotten" this knowledge maybe you should try to recall it. Remembers no person with strong character lives without living by the universal values of courage, honesty, perseverance and generosity.

 Here is an excerpt from the article to help you, Making Ethical Decisions: What's the Big Deal About Decisions?

"Ethics is more than doing what you must do. It's doing what you should do. Because acting honorably sometimes means not doing what we want to do, ethics requires self-control.

Ethics involves seeing the difference between right and wrong. It's a commitment to do what is right, good and honorable. Ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price for making an unethical choice. Are you willing to sacrifice pride, integrity, reputation and honor by making an unethical choice? Are you willing to suffer the consequences of a bad choice?

Because doing the right thing can cost us more in friendship, money, prestige or pleasure than we may want to pay, practicing ethics takes courage. The right thing to do isn't usually the easiest thing to do, but learning to say no when you feel like saying yes builds character."

Making Ethical Decisions: What's the Big Deal About Decisions?


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on August 10, 2010 6:54 PM.

Tribal Leaders Institute Project Completed was the previous entry in this blog.

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