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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Eleven Steps Toward Promoting Civic Virtue

Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo analyzes the way an organization can support good behavior.

  1. Encouraging admission of one's mistakes, accepting errors in judgments, being willing to say that you were wrong.
    1. Encourages creativity and individual initiative
    2. Constructive criticism
    3. Honest mistakes vs. dumb and deceptive ones
    4. Are you open and accepting Vs. do you tolerate incompetence.
    5. Punishing mistakes counteracts this factor
  2. Encouraging "Mindfulness" in which people are reminded in a variety of ways not to live their lives on automatic pilot, but to take a moment to reflect on the immediate situation, or think before acting, to not go mindlessly into situations where angels and sensible people fear to tread.
    1. Rules based vs. values based decision making
    2. "Framework" for decision making
    3. 8 out of 10 ethical dilemmas will be addressed, if people take the time to think about stakeholders, and the consequences/li>
    4. Risk assessment and preparation for ethical challenges
    5. On-going education and training (vs. once a year "shot")
  3. Promoting a sense of personal responsibility and accountability for all of one's actions, making people aware that conditions of diffused responsibility merely disguise their own individual role in the outcomes of their actions..
    1. Package responsibility and authority together
    2. Ownership for outcomes. Who is the owner?
  4. Discouraging even the smallest transgressions, cheating, gossiping, lying, teasing and bullying. They provide the first steps toward escalating downwards to ever worsening behaviors.
    1. Zero tolerance
    2. Bending rules is discouraged
  5. Learning to distinguish between Just Authority, to whom respect and even obedience may be appropriate, and Unjust Authority (as in the Milgram study), to whom disrespect and disobedience are necessary to oppose and change that tyrant.
    1. Passive aggressive behavior is not permitted??
    2. Ultimate act is to resign" and must be contemplated
    3. Gatekeepers (Who are they, what influence?)
  6. Supporting critical thinking from the earliest times in a child's life and maintaining it throughout life. Asking for evidence to support assertions, demanding that ideologies be sufficiently elaborated to separate rhetoric from reality-based conclusions, to independently determine whether specific means ever justify vague and harmful ends.
    1. no ideas whatsoever???
  7. Rewarding the social modeling of moral behavior, elevating for organizational recognition those who do the right thing.
    1. Punish outliers
    2. Reward people who do the right thing
    3. Recognition (carrots and sticks) needs to be visible to peers
    4. Prerequisite to managerial promotion!
  8. Respecting human diversity, appreciating human variability and the differences among people as a fundamental way to reduce our in-group biases that lead to derogating others, prejudice and the evils of discrimination.
  9. Changing social conditions that make people feel anonymous; instead supporting conditions that make people feel special, so that they have a sense of personal value and self worth.
    1. Value their contribution
    2. Reward contribution; punish unethical behaviors
    3. Combining responsibility and authority
      • Supportive
      • Give them resources
  10. Becoming aware of when conformity to the group norm is counter-productive and should not be followed, when independence should take precedence and be adopted regardless of social rejection by that group.
    1. Organizations value conformity
    2. Culture that encourages constructive criticism
    3. Effectiveness of an Open Door Policy?
  11. Never allowing one's self to sacrifice personal character for the promise of security (financial, social), it is always a bad deal because the sacrifices are real and immediate and the security is a distant illusion.
    1. "I want to keep my stature and standing in the group"
    2. Reminders, informal educational reinforcement; mini case studies
Oct 5, 2015