Personal Ethics in the Corporate World

In today’s high-speed organizations, it is easy to find ourselves in situations that subtly (or not so subtly) conflict with our values — even in companies we admire. Are we really treating our employees with respect? Are we telling the whole truth to our customers? Have we “massaged” the numbers in ways that are misleading to investors?

Over the years, I have spoken with dozens of people about their experiences trying to live their values amidst the realities of organizational life. They have shared stories about compromises they later regretted, and strategies that helped them stay true to their principles and influence their organizations for the better. 

In this older post on strategy+business, Personal Ethics in the Corporate World, I summarize some findings from interviews just prior to the financial crisis of 2008. Perhaps some of the lessons will be relevant to you today. For example, one of the major surprises was that everyone needs to be aware of compromise situations, even in companies that feel like the “good guys.” (That’s how they stay the good guys!)

See what you think! And, if you would like to discuss how to apply these ideas further in your organization, please drop me a note.

All the best,

Elizabeth Doty