South Africa as an organisation: ethical or not?

by Thobile Madonsela | Published on 26 March 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Let’s imagine South Africa as an organisation, where everyone in society is an employee, members of parliament are the senior management team and the president is the Chief Executive Officer. Then, let’s think back and ask: what sort of work environment have we been experiencing in this organisation in recent years? Or, to frame the question a little differently: has this organisation had an ethical culture? 

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Cape Town, meet "epistemic responsibility"

by Grace Garland | Published on 26 February 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Our beliefs are powerful, not just because they inform our own behaviour, but also because they have an influence on the beliefs and behaviour of others. The duty to strive to believe the truth, rather than a comfortable falsehood, is known as epistemic responsibility. And it appears to be something else of which Cape Town is in short supply.

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Understanding and combating Counterproductive Work Behaviours

by Dr Paul Vorster | Published on 25 January 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Counterproductive work behaviour, or CWB, is defined as “…intentional acts by employees that harm organisations or their stakeholders” (Spector et al., 2006, p. 30). CWBs include numerous destructive behaviours that may harm the organisation directly, or negatively affect its reputation, stakeholders, and/or ethical culture.

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Reflecting on 2017: Annus horribilis or Annus mirabilis?

by Prof Deon Rossouw | Published on 29 November 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

This year was without any doubt an eventful and turbulent one. As we approach the final month of this year, one cannot help but reflect on whether it was a horrible year (annus horribilis) or a wonderful year (annus mirabilis).

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The Ethics Practitioners' Association takes its first steps

by Grace Garland | Published on 25 September 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter


On Friday, 8 September 2017, a group of people gathered in a medium-sized meeting room at Discovery’s headquarters in Sandton. No fanfare belied the auspiciousness of the occasion; no flashy marketing hinted at the calibre of attendees. In fact, the opposite is true: the launch of the Ethics Practitioners’ Association (EPA) was understated in every way.

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No One Moves, Listens or Cares

by Liezl Groenewald | Published on 25 August 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

When I started working at The Ethics Institute nine years ago, no one told me that I would be traveling frequently.  I thought it was a cushy office job! But since I moved to Cape Town, travelling on a weekly basis became part of my existence. I am not complaining about it, but there are a few things at airports and in planes that never cease to amaze me.

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"Never take from the people you lead"

by Dr Paul Vorster | Published on 25 July 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Being an industrial/organisational psychologist by profession, and working for years in the field of selection and assessment of leaders in industry, I have come across a large diversity of opinions about leadership. And the truth is, the more I have learned about different perspectives of leadership, the more confused I have become. It seems that everyone has an opinion on leadership: what it is, what is should be, and what it is not.

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Siemens Integrity Initiative

The Ethics Institute has been deeply involved in the first two funding rounds of the Siemens Integrity Initiative since 2009. Our projects have taken place in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola. Business networks and individual businesses seldom have the appropriate expertise to implement internationally developed anti-corruption and good governance guidelines, standards and initiatives, and are often unaware of their existence. These long-term, deep-change projects aim to capacitate African business networks with the skills to implement anti-corruption initiatives and good governance practices.

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The power of consistency

© Frank J Navran

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in an essay entitled Self Reliance, first published in 1841, observed that: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by statesmen, and philosophers and divines.”

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The importance of transparency

While transparency was originally defined as a matter of corruption as it existed in the relationships between businesses and governments, it has become a broader, more generic term in the past twenty years.

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Reflections on some business ethics tensions within organisations

The Ethics Institute adopts the definition of organisational ethics as the balancing of what is good for the organisation with what is good for other stakeholders. As reflected in the Institute’s  new corporate identity and logo, the definition is encapsulated in the classic ethics triangle (good, self and other). 

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Implementing Organizational Ethics as a Change Process

Considering Ethics as an organizational behavior, it comprises of principles and values of individuals in the organizational context with a focus on individual and group processes and actions.

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