Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ethics - framing communications

In an article about communicating ethics, the author posits that "subtle changes" in how communications about ethics are framed "can produce big differences in the ethical conduct of organizational members."  See The Best Ways to Discuss Ethics.  The author starts with the observation that there are a "wide variety of approaches" that companies can take to discuss ethics, ranging from Codes of Conduct to more interactive employee ethics blogs (such as Best Buy's Ethics Blog).  Three findings are summarized:  "1.  Setting the right example," "2. Framing ethics to highlight prevention," and "3.  Stress the importance of means."
As to #2, the author suggests that companies frame ethics as "prevention of being unethical" rather than "promotion of being ethical," because promotional "triggers" are "more likely to lead to cheating. . . ."  Personally, I find this suggestion to be somewhat counterintuitive, because (in my experience) it is easier to get employees focused on a positive (being ethical) than on a negative (avoid being unethical).  You may disagree.  For the full post by Francesca Gino, associate professor of business administration in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit at the Harvard Business School, go to: The Best Ways to Discuss Ethics

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and is posted at

Legal Notice and Disclaimer

No comments: