Today’s news offers what the military used to call a “target-rich environment.” The news offers numerous opportunities to write about intelligence ethics, workplace spirituality and personal performance improvement. While I won’t get it all written and posted today, I’d like to start with David Callahan’s comments on the face of corporate evil.
The problems at WorldCom arose from a desire to please the boss and an impulse to protect the company. The first of these should come as no surprise. One of the grim lessons of the twentieth century--stressed by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Stanley Milgram--is that good people in hierarchies do evil things. … The second motive also speaks to the human frailty of individuals caught in a bind. Joseph Wells, a former FBI agent and founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, said in an interview for my book that a hallmark of high-level fraud is "rationalization, the ability to call the fraud by a nice name."
Callahan calls for more teaching of ethics in professional schools. This strikes me as a good, but partial solution. For me, the real question is how people reach the personal stature to be able to implement ethical solutions once they recognize them.
Searching for the answer reminds me of the old Peanuts cartoon when Charlie Brown says “Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
It’s going to take more than one post.