The Ethics of Choice Training Program teaches a modern and elaborated work ethic, one that clearly states what it means to be a responsible, effective, ethical member of an organization. It is a work ethic that promotes personal growth while at the same time furthering long term organizational success.
If implemented within an organization (i.e., business, corporation, institution, etc.), the Ethics of Choice Training Program fosters--through its training and feedback processes--the development of an ethical culture.
(Note: An ethical culture is a culture committed to helping its members realize their full potential as human beings. It is a culture continuously in the process of minimizing its self-destructiveness while at the same time maximizing its prospects for survival and prosperity. Organizations with [increasingly] ethical cultures serve themselves, their members and the larger communities of which they are a part.)
WHAT ARE THE ETHICS OF CHOICE?
The Ethics of Choice are twelve ethics plus accompanying corollaries that, together, define what it means to work ethically. They are the ethics of personal responsibility, providing clarity and guidance on how to interact creatively with the organization's vision.
Economist E. F. Schumaker said that "work exists for the refinement of character." The Ethics of Choice are the "rules" for so working.
In 1930, philosopher Wilbur Marshall Urban of Dartmouth College wrote,
" . . . it is the development or realization of selves that constitutes the 'good' . . . and the theory of ethics which makes this the locus of value is called the ethics of self-realization. By this is meant that the locus of the good is not found in pleasure, nor in organic survival or welfare, but in the complete energizing of our capacities as selves or persons . . . "
from Fundamentals of Ethics by Wilbur Marshall Urban
It is to this value that the Ethics of Choice are anchored. Conduct in accord with the ethics of choice energizes and evolves the self. The individual benefits from this but so, too, any organization of which the individual is a part.
In specific terms, the Ethics of Choice prescribe the course which, if followed, meets the requirements of both personal development and long term organizational success. It is for this reason, I believe, that the Ethics of Choice were pointed to (in an article appearing in "Association Management" (8/98)) as "a model for the creation of an organizational ethics code that incorporates (both) a personal and organizational commitment to values."
When the Ethics of Choice are presented within an organization, the following assumptions are made:
First, the organization inviting the training (or ethics training, in general) is a healthy organization; unhealthy organizations, it is presumed, do not entertain this topic;
Second, no one lives the totally ethical life, we all have improvements we can make; this program is about the advantages that might accrue were we to make even slight improvements;
Third, the emphasis throughout training must not be on how others in the organization are doing (with respect to these ethics) but "on how I am doing"; the emphasis must be on oneself;
And finally, the purpose of training is served best when participants feel safe, comfortable, their own current views honored; for this reason, participants are encouraged not to accept the Ethics of Choice uncritically but to examine, discuss and reflect on them, to treat them (at the very least) as a "whetstone" against which to sharpen and refine their own ethics if the Ethics of Choice prove inadequate to their needs.
These assumptions are important because the topic of ethics is a very personal one. Room must be made within the training experience for each person to find his or her own way to the relevance of the material. Only then is the embracing of the next higher standard possible, whether that standard is the Ethics of Choice or a standard of one's own making.
I invite you to read more about the Ethics of Choice Training Program in the links that follow. If, after reading this material, you have additional questions and/or wish to consider this program for your organization, then please don't hesitate to contact me. I am happy to answer any questions about the program and would be delighted to be of service to you.
To reiterate, the Ethics of Choice Code (and accompanying training program) is written with an emphasis on one's work life, or one's life in organizations. The value to which this code is anchored is human development, "the complete energizing of our capacities as selves or persons." The presumption is that good things flow necessarily--for individuals, for organizations, for life itself--when this value is embraced.
David L. Thomas, Ph.D.
The Ethics of Choice Training Program was developed by David L. Thomas, Ph.D. To discuss the prospect of bringing the Ethics of Choice Training Program to your organization, e-mail Dr. Thomas at: