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[Ann E.] Tenbrunsel, the David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics in the College of Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame and the co-author of “Blind Spots,” discussed the blind nature of ethicality and behavioral ethics.
“It’s a field that really seeks to understand why you and you and I behave unethically, and yet we don’t realize that we’re doing so,” she said.
The four blind spots that Tenbrunsel discussed include ethical illusions, ethical fading, dangerous reward systems and motivated blindness.
Businesses want more customer data – and the right to do more with it – because this is how they will personalise and pivot at speed in the digital era. But customers don’t trust businesses to behave responsibly with their data. Scandals such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica crisis have prompted fears their data will be misused, while cyber security breach after breach prompts nervousness about how sharing data could leave you vulnerable to fraud and theft.
The market research agency Gartner recognizes this contradiction. It picks out digital ethics and privacy as one of its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019, describing the associated issues as a “growing concern for individuals, organizations and governments”.
In the ethics portion of the business law course I teach to M.B.A. students, I underscore that great leadership in any endeavor is set from the top down, and I note the remarkably similar foundational principles for ethical leadership given in very different contexts by three figures whom I greatly admire: South Africa’s freedom leader and President Nelson Mandela, Prof. Randy Pausch of “Last Lecture” fame, and Major Dick Winters who, as a captain during World War II, led the roughly 150-man company of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division that was the subject of Band of Brothers.
Millennials and Generation Z are moving into the workforce at exponential rates as baby boomers are retiring. Millennials are currently the largest population in the U.S. workforce, holding approximately 20 percent of all leadership roles. About 17 million members of Gen Z started their careers last year and they are the most diverse generation we have ever seen.
According to Deloitte’s annual Millennial Survey published earlier this year, millennial and Gen Z employees value ethics, an inclusive workplace culture, diversity in leadership, and look to business leaders to make a positive impact in society.
Additionally, they are “…especially interested in building interpersonal skills, confidence and ethical behavior — all of which they consider essential for a business to be successful.”
Please feel free to contact the Ethikos Weekly Newsletter editor Margaret Dragon.
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