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REVIEW: "Better Ethics Now", Christopher Bauer

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Han
    BKBEETNO.RVW 20071118 Better Ethics Now , Christopher Bauer, 2005, 978-0-9765863-3-3, U$21.99/C$29.99 %A Christopher Bauer chris@bauerethicsseminars.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2008
      BKBEETNO.RVW 20071118

      "Better Ethics Now", Christopher Bauer, 2005, 978-0-9765863-3-3,
      %A Christopher Bauer chris@...
      %C 1604 Burton Ave., Nashville, TN 37215
      %D 2005
      %G 0-9765863-3-9 978-0-9765863-3-3
      %I Aab-Hill Business Books
      %O U$21.99/C$29.99 615-385-3523
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976586339/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976586339/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n Tech 1 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 171 p.
      %T "Better Ethics Now: How to Avoid the Ethics Disaster You Never
      Saw Coming"

      A note on the title page of the book states that the text is intended
      to educate and entertain in regard to ethics, and that the material is
      neither comprehensive nor tested. (It is ethical to let the reader
      know that, although my initial reaction was that the "entertain"
      aspect might have been a bit of an abdication of the author's
      responsibilities to the readers.) The introduction asserts that the
      focus of the work is on how a lack of personal responsibility creates
      the foundation for corporate ethical disasters, and that having
      individuals improve their own ethical standards will enhance the
      integrity of the company. There is, of course, something to this,
      although it does fly in the face of a great many studies identifying
      the "tone at the top" as the major determinant of corporate ethical

      Chapter one notes that ethical breaches in companies have serious
      financial ramifications, and reiterates the position that assessing
      your own morals will improve those of the company, primarily by
      forcing you to determine if the normal business behaviour you are
      asked to follow is ethical. (This does tie back to the issue of "tone
      at the top": if your ethics stand up to scrutiny and you feel
      comfortable in your working environment, the tone is probably OK.)
      Ethics are guiding principles, chapter two tells us. It isn't just
      following (or even breaking) rules, says chapter three. Chapter four
      seems to repeat this last, in slightly different wording, properly
      taking issue with the subject of "compliance," which has become
      something of a buzzword and panacea in recent years. Using cute
      expansions of "ethics" as an acronym, chapter five tentatively
      introduces the idea of personal responsibility and decision. A simple
      tool for personal assessment is described in chapter six. Chapter
      seven examines the issues of reporting or otherwise dealing with
      ethical violations that you discover.

      Chapter eight moves the discussion to the corporate level, noting the
      importance of policy statements, processes, and procedures. Ethical
      behaviour involves achieving positive actions, we are told in chapter
      nine, rather than merely avoiding negative ones. Chapter ten does
      promote the importance of the "tone at the top," noting that sometimes
      you, as an employee, may need to walk away from an intolerable
      situation. Chapter eleven suggests that those in management and
      leadership need to communicate ethics directly and openly. The idea
      that the moral standards of each employee are important is again
      stressed in chapter twelve. Proper ethics are not always easy, says
      chapter thirteen. Chapter fourteen repeats encouragement to be
      proactive about promoting ethics, and suggests various procedures for
      the corporation.

      There are other books on ethics, and business ethics as well.
      Johnson's "Computer Ethics" (cf. BKCMPETH.RVW) is a classic and
      Tavani's "Ethics and Technology" (cf. BKETHTCH.RVW) adds depth and
      intellectual rigour. Bauer's work is very different: there is little
      academic or conceptual background, but the brevity and practicality of
      the work may make it more suitable for the general work environment.
      While it doesn't add much to the debate, it could certainly be used
      for training and the promotion of ethical standards, and is probably
      more accessible for the general population of employees and managers.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2007 BKBEETNO.RVW 20071118

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be
      much writing, much arguing, many opinions; for opinion in good
      persons is but knowledge in the making. - John Milton
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