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Ethics at Work

by Darnell Lattal & Ralph W. Clark
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Ethics at Work by Darnell Lattal, Ph.D. and Ralph W. Clark, Ph.D.

On a personal level, everyone must answer the following question: What is my highest aspiration? The answer might be wealth, fame, knowledge, popularity, or integrity. But if integrity is secondary to any of the alternatives, it will be sacrificed in situations in which a choice must be made. Such situations will inevitably occur in every person's life. Murphy Smith, ethicist and author, Business and Accounting Ethics

Events at work affect us in countless ways. The products and services upon which we depend, the communities in which we live, the well-being of our families, our economic security--all are affected by what happens in the workplace. The kinds of people we are--our commitments to one another, how we view competition andcooperation, our sense of personal and social responsibility--are reflected by what we do at work. We also spend a large part of our day at work, so the setting offers an excellent opportunity for practicing ethical conduct.

Yet, few companies require that their leaders analyze the ethical cost/benefit of a particular action in planning a marketing strategy or setting up annual budgets. Candidates for employment are seldom asked to describe how they have actually handled ethical dilemmas, requiring detailed description of the process of decision making and action. When managers must make tough decisions about people or resources, rarely do plans for action include the company's ethical obligations. All too often, companies fail to visibly and formally recognize those persons who place integrity above making commissions or refusing to do other things that they judge to be the wrong thing to do. Have you ever heard of senior leadership praising, in meaningful and visible ways, an account executive for losing a sale by doing the right thing? In reality, sales personnel are often punished for losing sales, regardless of the reason. It must be difficult for them to watch as others receive recognition or a bonus when the very sale that the ethical seller refused would have been sufficient to earn that bonus.

The downfall of Enron, WorldCom, and HealthSouth, to name a few, demonstrates that ethics needs to be an on-the-table topic, with the goal of including ethical processes as part of the usual and customary way that business is done. This book provides a framework for identifying and implementing strategies to improve the ethical climate in the workplace. It provides the tools of applied behavior analysis to help each of us make changes in our own actions where neededto behave in a more ethical manner. This book is also designed to serve as a concise, practical text for students of business and ethics.

Lattal and Clark transform the challenge of workplace ethics from words, words, words to choices, decisions, and actions. Through principles and examples, they guide managers in assessing and changing their own ethical behavior, as well as the ethical behavior of people who report to them. This is a long-overdue book, one that brings ethics to life; teaches us real-world applications. Managers should read it, and put it into practice. Dwight Harshbarger, Ph.D., Executive Director, Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies

Soft Cover
ISBN: 0-937100-10-2

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