viii) Ethical Mind

An ethical mind involves

- understanding and recognizing your responsibilities as a citizen of a group, community, region, nation and the world, ie striving to serve purposes beyond self-interest

- abstracting critical features of one's role at work and one's role as a world citizen; acting consistently with those conceptualizations

- striving toward good work which is defined as excellent in quality, responsible and accountable, and engaging. Linked with good work are the 4 Ms:

i) mission (what are you trying to achieve? eg goals and objectives);

ii) models (especially individuals who are positive role models);

iii) mirror test - individual version (involves self-reflection to determine if you are doing the right thing; should use an outsider as a reality check);

iv) mirror test - professional responsibility (monitoring what your peers are doing and, if required, calling them to account)

NB These should become part of a person's mental architecture (habits of the mind) that involves constant reflection, wide consultation and abstract thought

- good world citizenship

i) knowing and living the core values and principles of one's profession and seeking to maintain them and pass them on, even at times of rapid and unpredictable change

ii) knowing and living the core values (truthfulness, integrity, loyalty, fairness, etc) of one's community/society; even when it means that it goes against your own self-interest, ie commitment to ethics, trust and integrity, ie banking and finance oath
"...Trust is the foundation of my profession, I will serve all interests in good faith, I will compete with honour, I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint, I will help create a sustainable future, I will help create a more just society, I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same, I will accept responsibility for my actions..."

Joanne Gray, 2015f

iii) with maturity, adopting the role of the trustee, who assumes stewardship of a domain and is willing to speak out, even a personal cost

iv) should start when an individual can think conceptually and abstractly about their role and may require supportive relationships

- counter the "veil of ignorance"

It involves and abstract attitude, ie

"...the capacity to reflect explicitly on the ways in which one does, or does not, fulfil a certain role..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

It goes beyond partisan religious beliefs; the quality of peer group is important in determining the ethical mind

Educators need to focus on the connotations of goodness, such as quality of life and living ie

"...students need to understand why the learning what they are learning and how this knowledge can be put to constructive uses.....and to bear witness when the understanding (or misunderstanding) is being used in destructive ways. This is the reason why community service and other forms of giving are - or should be - an important part of the curriculum of any school......from an early age......young people are influenced by what they see around them, what is rewarded, what is written about, what is ignored or disparaged..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

There is considerable overlap between respect and ethics, ie

" is difficult to imagine an ethical person who does not respect others..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

Some questions to help identify the ethical mind

- what does it mean to be a professional at the present time?

- what are my obligations, rights, responsibilities, etc as a person and worker in being a citizen of this community/country/region/world?

- what are my expectations of others based on my understanding of their respective positions and views, especially those who are less fortune than me?

- what kind of world would I like to live in and what is my responsibility to help this happen?

Need to be careful of

"...expanding a good, responsible line but failing to embody that course in one's own actions; practicing ethics in a small arena while acting irresponsibly in the largest sphere (or vice versa)..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

- some dilemma need to be managed, such as

"...can a praiseworthy end justify dubious means?..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

An ethical mind understands

- stakeholder engagement
is basically about listening. It can help create a good work culture.

- doctrine of double effect (doing something morally good can have a moral bad-side effect, eg token appointment. Is it ethically OK to provide a negative impact that wasn't intended, ie unintended consequences of an initiative designed with good intentions?)

- accelerating to a quality (generally steer clear of challenging the principle while raising all concerns with the right person, eg those in charge of the process or who designed the system, etc)

Need to be careful of bonuses as they can manipulate the moral compass and allow self-interest to reign supreme. Need to be monitored very carefully for the un-intended consequences, ie's clear where the dollars can lead us - and is not always good..." 

Clare Payne 2019

There can be of conflict between duty of care to the organisation and duty of care to individuals, eg a staff member making a large investment, like a house, who is about to be made redundant

- some trends in society mitigate against ethical mind, such as the promise of enormous financial reward for those willing to overlook and embrace dubious activities.

Professionalism to handle ethical and moral challenges 

The Australian banking industry needs to become more professional in its handling of the ethical and moral failings identified in the Banking Royal Commission (2019). 

"...Finance sits at the heart of our economy and society and the way it conducts itself is has been evident for quite a long time...... Australia's big four banks' social licence to operate has been a second-order consideration...... overwhelming evidence is banks have been purely driven by the objectives of maximising profits, shareholders' returns, executive compensation - the wider social licence has been ignored......banking is no longer seen as a craft or a customer-centric profession and there's a lack of professional standards due to the emergence of a persuasive sales culture where products are more important than customers and people are incentivised accordingly..." 

Joseph Healy as quoted by Mark Eggleton 2018 

It is claimed (Christopher Nitsche, 2018) that going down the path of professionalisation that involves creating professional standards and a professional code of conduct has worked in other professions and drives a better customer outcomes. It is more than having academic qualifications; it is a mindset, attitude, culture, etc 

This is more important than regulation as professional code of conduct applies to the individual, ie 

"...It is all about people being held personally and individually accountable - not their employers, nor their organisations...... sense of personal responsibility and culture that drives it..." 

Chris Whitehouse as quoted by 
Christopher Nitsche, 2018 

The Royal Commission identified the lack of focus on the customer and a focus on short-term outcomes, mainly financial, ie 

"...Individuals driven by bonuses and organisations driven by financial targets have overridden customer responsibilities, and as banking has become more electronic, more centralised, customers had disappeared from the view of many people who are making critical decisions about the impact on those customers. There is a need for much stronger emphasis on better understanding of the responsibility of everyone to the organisation's customers..." 

Chris Whitehouse as quoted by Christopher Nitsche, 2018

Professionalism is complimentary to regulation. The more professional the industry, less need for regulation.

Individuals need to help the industry  re-establish 
public trust and confidence. 

Professionalism is more than determining what is legal or illegal. It is about determining what will create excellent customer outcomes and to focus on the outcomes for the customer rather than just complying with regulation. It also requires staff to have a baseline knowledge about their profession, ie competency.

. There are some resistances and obstacles to developing these 5 desirable minds in the future, ie

"...- Conservatism. We are doing perfectly fine with traditional education and long-standing practices at work - why change?

- Faddism. Visionaries and pundits are always calling for something new. Why should we believe that these 5 minds are any better than earlier calls for other forms of mind?

- Hidden risks. Who knows the hidden costs of this regime? Perhaps excessive creativity with slip into anarchy. Perhaps naive or misplaced respectfulness will make us sitting ducks for terrorists

- Impotence. These goals sounded good. But I don't know how to achieve them, and I don't know how to evaluate whether they are actually being realised. Show me want to do, and don't expect me to assent..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

NB There are other minds that can be considered, such as flexible (can handle the ever-changing environment), technological, digital, democratic, emotional, spiritual, strategic minds, etc

Some examples of the kind of minds include Marie Curie (disciplined mind), Aristotle (synthesizing), Bill Gates (creative), European people who sheltered Jews during World War II (respectful) and Rachel Carson (ethical).

. Individuals without one or more disciplines will not be able to succeed at any demand in the workplace and will be restricted to menial tasks

"...Individuals without synthesizing capabilities will be overwhelmed by information and unable to make judicious decisions about personal or professional matters

Individuals without creating capabilities will be replaced by computers and will drive away those who have the creative spark

Individuals without respect will not be worthy of respect by others......

Individuals without ethics will yield a world devoid of the decent workers and responsible citizens..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

To develop ethics, there is a need to identify and neutralise challenges in advance by using diagnostic tools, palliative treatment and sentinel protection spanning temporal and spatial horizons

For example, in banking, there is a need to be careful of the
"...danger of complacency and the need for vigilance, particularly in non-bank finance and asset management, operational risk and the potential issues crypto-assets pose around customer and investor protection, money laundering and terrorist financing..."
Mark Carney as quoted by Justin O'Brien 2018

Despite the Australian Royal Commission into HIH (2003) suggesting similar recommendations to those from the Haynes Commission, nothing changed and there are concerns that this will happen again!!!!

More questions
"...- Whether and which interests were privileged and at what cost?
    - What sanctions were available to force compliance?
    - Were they used and, if so, were they an effective deterrent?......
    - System's capacity or willingness to adapt when ideational assumptions are undermined, if not altogether falsified..."
Justin O'Brien 2018

- why are certain industries susceptible to outbreaks of crime, ie criminal activities become accepted practice as everyone is doing it and therefore it is okay?

"...Reciprocity and other - regarding social norms - not self-interest - form the core of any genuine social contract underpinning a functional democracy. Sustainability necessitates an equal balancing of equality of opportunity and liberty. These foundational principles do not necessarily act in unison. The social contract to remain vibrant requires vigilance to protect the general wellbeing against forms of manipulation and self-interest, which, left unattended, can lead inexorably and inevitably to a dystopia of alienation, oppression and unfreedom. These principles require the integration of technical and normative dimensions, which, if necessary must be adjudicated by the courts..."
Justin O'Brien 2018


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