There is general agreement that religion and ethics are closely linked. Religion provides a system of norms and values guiding how individuals should live. Such norms and values are often codified as religious beliefs in the Bible or the Quran (Parboteeah et al., 2008). And 84 percent of the world’s population declare themselves as religious (King, 2008). Even so, behavioral ethics as a discipline tends to ignore issues of faith.
Early in my career as a federal prosecutor I discovered that corruption in government remains a serious problem in the U.S. and, as the Ethics Director for the City of Jacksonville, I’ve come to understand that temptations to use government offices for private ends are subtle and widespread.
There is evidence that corruption is a persistent problem in Armenian education and that attempts to tackle it have so far led to less satisfactory results: in the perceptions of the Armenian public, education continues to be a sector particularly affected by the problem.
The recent Francis Report into how poor care at Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust was allowed to happen was another lesson in just how valuable whistleblowers are to society. And yet as a society, we don’t seem to care that many struggle to survive.
The phrase “the rise of ‘the rest,’” is borrowed from the title of a 2001 book1 by the late Alice Amsden, Professor of Political Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is also used by Fareed Zakaria in the 2009 paperback edition2 of his 2008 book of a similar title.
While societies depend on whistleblowers to publicize wrongdoings in government and commercial institutions, such employees occupy an ambivalent position in organizations. Some see them as courageous heroes but for others they are antisocial traitors.
When Lab Fellow Maryam Kouchaki, Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino and I came together in 2012 to collaborate, we wanted to understand the processes of making and keeping business commitments as an essential element of institutional integrity. In particular, we wanted to study the dynamics of “commitment drift,” (perceived systematic breakdowns in fulfilling a company’s most important commitments to its stakeholders).
Midway through the first full day of Hacking iCorruption, the hackathon that Civic co-hosted with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics this weekend, a participant and Fellow at the Center for Ethics approached Stephanie Dant, Assistant Director of the Center, and gushed, “This is amazing! I asked them”—she gestured at a team of coders—“if they could build it, and they said, ‘Of course.’” The Fellow was agape, in contrast to her coders: “They were deadpan! Like it was nothing!”