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Everyday Ethics: Individual Reflection & Ethical Practice

This experiential 3-day program stimulates reflective thinking and dialogue for participants concerning everyday ethical situations. Using simple scenarios to evoke complex considerations, participants experience the natural push-pull of self-interest within situations-depending on the role they play in the scenario.

  • Through these scenarios, approached privately and then in small groups, individuals exercise and expand their awareness of the impact of doing the right thing - regardless of whether that action is taken knowingly in the public domain, or privately with either complete anonymity or little chance that anyone will know.
  • Various methods and tools are culled from the discussions, introduced, and gradually built into a more systematic way of appreciating the importance of individual and mutual accountability and their broader impact on the commons as well as on the individual.

In life, things hold together or fall apart (connecting or fragmenting the larger health and integrity of community) via on-going judgments and decisions made privately and publicly. When those decisions are taken with careful consideration for others, the connections between us stays strong. The ways we treat each other and the limited resources we share define the health, vitality, and sustainability of our relationships.

These workshops demonstrate the natural excitement and energy people have around solving the ethical puzzles of everyday life, and the relevance of ethics to enhancing the health of organizational life. The workshop dialogues also acknowledge the complex and dynamic challenges of dealing with errors in judgment that resulted from general good intentions.

A rich mixture of situations drawn from private and public organizations help evoke a common structure of considerations to guide decisions and actions. Some examples are:

  • What considerations accompany hiring a new person in an ethical way?
  • When does sharing or withholding information uphold or violate privacy, a sense of respect, and/or fairness?
  • How do the interactions between people with different levels of authority impact the culture and outcomes of the organization?
  • What dynamics are generated by using a leadership style that expresses "power with" vs. "power over" others (fellow leaders, staff, customers, stakeholders)?

In this course participants will:

  • Understand the various strategic safeguards that can provide adequate checks and balances for potential errors in judgment and abuses of power
  • Explore the implications of personal and collective histories on assumptions, behaviors and practices that result in "right relationship" with stakeholders
  • Learn how to be more astute observers of themselves, their interests, their organization, and the public good
  • Explore the impact of language on how we see and think about power and ethics
  • Consider the hidden organizational structures and assumptions about power that define relationships and affect judgment
  • Explore major philosophical and ethical perspectives

Tools provided include:

  • An accessible and practical framework to address complex ethical questions
  • An open and safe environment for individual and social inquiry in which participants can probe and explore their own ethical quandaries and those that confront every organization and society
  • A respectful approach that holds space for many diverse views, while also focusing on common human values and principles for healthy and just living
  • Ways of experiencing ethics and morality as integral to daily life, and part of the fabric of our perceptions, assumptions, language, intentions, and behaviors - with co-workers, clients, and the global community both now and for generations to come
  • A working awareness about how personal integrity and mutual accountability creates the conditions of the world in which we choose to live
  • Ways that individuals and groups consider and create practices and processes that support dignity, fairness, and the common good in all aspects of organizational life


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