Robotic responses

Ethically speaking, organisational New Zealand rates among the world’s best behaved. This reputational ranking exists despite the appallingly bent governance that killed the country’s finance sector and a few too many recent examples of questionable leadership practices in the private, public and political arenas.

Organisations should constantly focus on reputational retention. A good name is hard earned and easily lost. Consider, therefore, some recently released British research that suggests managers are all too often concerned with following processes rather than using their judgement to make moral decisions.

The report, Managers and Their Moral DNA, by UK’s Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and London-based consultancy MoralDNA, found 74 percent of managers don’t properly consider the impact of moral decisions on others at work. This figure is 28 percent higher than the general population, suggesting managers at work are more inclined to comply "robotically" with the rules than people in non-work situations. The report surveyed 1,533 managers.

The report’s co-author Roger Steare, visiting professor in the practice of organisational ethics at Cass Business School, says managers should encourage "constructive dissent" within their teams. This involves employees challenging managers' decisions without reprisals.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke says recruiters should ensure that the managers they hire have the right values. "One of the reasons there are so few good managers around is that the values of moral decision-making and care of employees isn't tested in the recruitment process. A lot of the tests are only on basic competencies. Add to this the fact managers are often not given training in this area, and it's not surprising there are problems.” Read more at:

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