Jack Marshall

The Business Ethics Workout

Length: 2-3  hours; half day or full day

As many organizational leaders have found, teaching and learning about business ethics can be both boring and frustrating: boring to employees who cannot see the immediate relevance of ethics to their everyday activities; and frustrating when leadership knows how vital ethics are to the overall success of their organization.

Designed as a half or full-day interactive advanced ethics seminar, The Business Ethics Work-Out 1 also is easily customized to
fit the needs of organizations with diverse characteristics– large and small, for-profit and non-profit, public and private,
and with or without experience in ethics training programs. The Workout succeeds as a one-time program or as the
a series of ethics training seminars; either way, it can have a dynamic positive impact on an organization’s approach to the way it conducts its business.

As a full-day program for a group of 10-50 participants, the seminar begins its morning session with an overview of ethical
principles and systems that are applicable to a business setting. Participants will discuss their approaches to several
hypotheticals designed to explore:

  • The identification and uses of core ethical values.
  • The interaction of professional, societal and personal ethics.
  • The distinction between compliance and ethics.
  • The power and influence of non-ethical considerations on ethical decision-making.
  • Various ethical decision-making models and their applications in a business setting.

In addition, the morning session includes a combination of brief lecture segments and hypothetical scenarios to explore
more complex topics:

  • Key organizational factors that affect the ethics of organization members.
  • The role of leadership.
  • Methods for the early detection of ethical problems.
  • Keeping “ethics alarms” in working order.
  • The most insidious (and common) rationalizations.
  • “Pre-unethical conditions.”
  • The uses (and misuses) of Corporate Codes of Conduct

After lunch, the group is challenged with a variety of business ethics scenarios, some of which will be addressed by the full
group, and others in break-out teams of four, five or six members.

Among the ethics issues to be covered:

  • Conflicts of interest.
  • Conflicts of duty.
  • Outside influences.
  • Bias and fairness.
  • Competence and accountability.
  • Duty to the organization.
  • Honesty, candor and disclosure.
  • Confidentiality.

The Business Ethics Workout can be tailored to a particular organization’s needs, timeline, resources, staff, and history of
ethics training programs. For example, for an organization that needs a thorough grounding in basic ethical principles
before tackling complex ethical dilemmas and decision-making.

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