Morality in Learning Organisations LO18089

John Zavacki (
Tue, 12 May 1998 22:58:44 -0400

Replying to LO18048 --

Richard asks:

> How do you balance what I see as a possible
> disconnect/conflict between
> the principle of honesty and the principle of confidentiality?

I've been dealing with this frequently of late, and I can only say that
there is a difference between honesty and "freedom of information". In
the same way the US Government refuses to be open with information that
bears on national security, the good mentor refuses to be open with
information that bears on the security of the community of practice.

There have always been conflicts between openness and confidentiality. If
they become conflicts between honesty and confidentiality, it is another
matter. If I am asked "how do you know this?" and I answer "I can't tell
you that", I am not being dishonest. I am being trustworthy. If the
matter comes to a head where one must be open as well as honest (which, to
me, is ther preferred state), it is the job of the mentor to prepare the
bearer of the information for the coming confrontation.

Honesty is a principle. Openness is a method. Trust is a result.

John Zavacki


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