Ethical Leadership - The experience of JCU's 3rd IBD cohort

Chapter 10 – Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Diversity


o        Case Study 10.1 – Diversity Pushback

§         Tyler University chooses to implement an initiative to pay all expenses for minority students

·        the president and staff support the initiative

·        students are upset that they must pay thousands of $ in loans AND the school is already diverse geographically, with different interests, family backgrounds, etc…

o       With a town hall meeting coming up, how should the meeting address Tyler University’s diversity problem?

o       Benefits of Diversity

§         Ethical, does more benefit than harm, individual consideration, promotes justice and community

o       Barriers to Fostering Diversity

·        Prejudice – prejudgment based on past experiences or beliefs

·        Stereotyping – characterizing people on perceived similarities, ignoring personal differences

·        Ethnocentrism – seeing the world from your own culture’s point of view

§         How to Overcome Barriers:

·        Openness to new categories (ways of defining people), openness to new information, and recognizing the new, acknowledging other perspectives

·        Moral inclusion: application of same values, rules, and standards to everyone

·        Institute diversity programs which affects the business as whole, individual employees, and the diverse portion of the business

o       Mastering Ethical Challenges of Leadership in a Global Economy:

§         Interdependence – concentration of power can lead to abuse, especially when resources and information are much more accessible

·        Privilege can lead to overconsumption, and should be considered in the context of those who have less access or access to lesser resources

§         Misinformation – data is gathered or given to places that do not have their own capabilities of making research or validating it, leading to possible exploitation

§         Lack of consistency and loyalty – the means do not justify the ends; an improvement of one situation may come at the cost of another

o       How to Build Global Responsibility

§         Create values that prevent ethical mishaps

§         Immediately address arising ethical issues

§         Accept responsibility to wrong doing

§         Set standards that equally treat leaders and followers

§         Consider these topics when considering global responsibility

o       Bribery, false information, intellectual property rights, gender equality

o       Aspects of Cultural Differences

§         Created: how cultures respond to circumstances

§         Learned: how cultural history is passed among generations

§         Shared: rules and laws set, and consequences of breaking laws

§         Dynamic: evolution of the culture

o       Values “programmed” into cultures

§         Power distance – acceptance of equality or disparity

§         Individualism vs. collectivism

§         Masculinity vs. femininity

§         Uncertainty avoidance – how the “different” or “unknown” is received

o       Project (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) GLOBE’s addendum to “programmed values

§         In-group collectivism – how small groups, families are valued

§         Assertiveness – tough and confrontation vs. modesty and tenderness

§         Future orientation – planning and investment

§         Performance orientation – rewarding performance or improvement

§         Humane orientation – society is a “family” vs. “group of individuals”

o       Standing on Moral Common Ground a.k.a. Universal Ethics

§         Global Ethic: setting the global values; every human is treated humanely, and do onto others what you wish others do to you

§         Global Values: love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom, unity, tolerance, responsibility, respect for life

§         Peace Ethic: communicate with respect, give accurate information, not forcing others to own standards, identify common ground with other cultures

§         Business Standards: carrying these values and ethics throughout all business interactions

§         Caux Principles:  stakeholders and shareholders, fostering better social conditions, establishing trust, cooperative regulations, multilateral trade, respect for environment, legality

o       Integrated Social Contracts Theory

§         Addressing social contracts as macrosocial and microsocial:

·        Macrosocial – how all people interact with each other, government protection of such interactions

·        Microsocial – how specific groups interact with each other and recognize the norms of each group

o       Although respect should be given for different cultures, the universal ethics should be followed in all circumstances




·        Case Study 10.2 – Google Meets the Great Firewall of China

o       China is a huge and still growing country where technology firms have entered and accepted  the government’s censorship policies;

§          in fact, companies like Google and Yahoo have provided software or given access to citizen’s information to filter or seek out dissidents

o       U.S. government representatives see working with such censorship immoral, even if this lending is to a quasi-developing country

§          however, the Chinese governments’ efforts to censor might fail on their own as access to network servers outside China and growth in web application may become overwhelming

·        Case Study 10.3 – Ethical Diversity Scenarios

o       Family Values or Nepotism

§         Indian companies have signed on to hiring children of current employees once the children have completed school; in the U.S., such nepotism is not seen as equal opportunity for everyone and is even fined

·        How do you handle Indian nepotism; is it acceptable to have a business relationship with a firm that practices the nepotism?

o       The Case of the Disguised Leader

§         To keep a business relationship strong and renew current contracts, the CEO suggests that you, a woman manager responsible for business in Kuwait, a Muslim nation, let a male counterpart handle the negotiations to avoid cultural impositions

·        Would you follow the CEO’s advice?  Why or why not?

o       Hazardous Material Labels

§         Containers in developing countries do not have labels listing hazardous materials, making any harm to employees uncertain and unforeseen

§         asking companies to label their containers adds significant costs and drives up the price and similarly makes the purchasers less competitive with those who disregard the need for labels

·        Would you require your supplier to label hazardous materials? Would  you use unlabeled goods if the operating law allowed such use?

o       The Regime Change

§         Your company has a clothing facility in Central America that offers the best wages and working conditions for the area;

§         recently, a military coup took over the government, taking political prisoners, blocking newspapers, and handing out death sentences to former government officials

§         however, the new leader assured you that your business would have no interference from the new government

·        Should you continue your business in the new political environment?  What advice would you give to company officials involved with the facility?

o       Tainted Amnesty

§         An African nation dictator, known for exiling and killing thousands of citizens, agreed to abandon position, allowing the country to free political prisoners and allow humanitarian aid into the nation;

§         the only condition to the dictator’s statement is that total amnesty is given without any purchase

·        What would be your position on the dictator’s demand?