Morality in Learning Organisations LO17951

John Constantine (
Sat, 02 May 1998 07:02:37 -0600

Replying to LO17939 --


Rather than deal with morality in organizations, your post highlights a
major stress factor and element of controversy - FEAR in the workplace.
The fact that it comes in many colors, takes many forms, sometimes smiles
in your face while stabbing you in the back, and leaves an indelible
impression on one's psyche, is not a moral question but an educational
one, appropriate for a learning organization.

I also see your post as having a gender-based dynamic, and would ask for
consideration of your approach by those members of the list who are women.
Would you think that they would approach the stress in the same manner, or
deal with it in the same way? Or, would they take the approach that the
issue is a personal one, with the "problem" residing in the lack of
understanding by certain members of the organization, but not all the

Someone far more understanding than I said on more than one occasion that,
referring to such examples as you pointed out, " could they know?"
How could the management of such a company know any better, if they were
not exposed (or willing to be exposed) to other forms and philosophies of

Unfortunately, it happens far too often that FEAR prevents action by
individuals, both men and women, by freezing their perspectives on choices
they may or may not actually have. This deep-seated fear has existed for a
long time in the workplace wherein women have faced bleak alternatives to
disgusting environments, populated by ignorant management. For the sake of
their children, they often choose to sacrifice themselves, without the
luxury of telling the manager to take a flyer. This is reality. It begs
for an educational response, not one that labels the organization as moral
or immoral.

People, not organizations, have the ability to act on a moral and ethical
basis. People, not organizations, can be educated to think differently.
Organizations may benefit from this education, and the "life" of the
organization take on a new perspective as a result.

Your example shouts, but is not a scream. Rather it is a sad comment on
the state of many an organization still mired in old habits and
couterproductive approaches to getting things done. You made your own
personal choice, as may your friend. Looking back, how would you suggest
that things might have been made different, thereby saving you the need to
depart the premises?

Some individuals don't operate on a moral platform; thankfully, many more
do. What do we do with those who are not moral in an organization? What
form can our actions take, and how are they enabled, or restricted?

Thank you for your example, though the language was a bit rough.

Ben Compton wrote:



John Constantine Rainbird Management Consulting PO Box 23554 Santa Fe, NM 87502-3554 Rainbird@Trail.Com

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