Last week I read an article "The Parable of the Sadhu" in the Harvard Business Review. The author, a former managing director of Morgan Stanley, described an incident he experienced while hiking up the Himalayas and related it to how ethical dilemmas are handled by individuals and organizations. In essence, there was an Indian priest, a sadhu, who was found half-naked in the freezing weather of the Himalayan mountains by a group of hikers who were trying to reach the pass before sunrise. The parallel of the ethical dilemma to the corporate world is that the situation is ambiguous; individuals are under at least mental stress; each person has a different outlook on the right way forward; and you are engaged in what seems like a once-in-a-lifetime situation. In addition to that, there is the 'bystander effect'. Research indicates that individuals are more prone to doing the right thing when they are by themselves than when they are in a group.
How are ethical issues handled in your organization? Do you have a code of ethics? In what direction is your moral compass pointed? How are you impacted by the 'bystander effect'?