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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Thursday, October 18, 2018

When You Fear Your Company Has Forgotten Its Principles

Sue Shellenbarger
The Wall Street Journal
Originally published September 17, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

People who object on principle to their employers’ conduct face many obstacles. One is the bystander effect—people’s reluctance to intervene against wrongdoing when others are present and witnessing it too, Dr. Grant says. Ask yourself in such cases, “If no one acted here, what would be the consequences?” he says. While most people think first about potential damage to their reputation and relationships, the long-term effects could be worse, he says.

Be careful not to argue too passionately for the changes you want, Dr. Grant says. Show respect for others’ viewpoint, and acknowledge the flaws in your argument to show you’ve thought it through carefully.

Be open about your concerns, says Jonah Sachs, an Oakland, Calif., speaker and author of “Unsafe Thinking,” a book on creative risk-taking. People who complain in secret are more likely to make enemies and be seen as disloyal, compared with those who resist in the open, research shows.

Successful change-makers tend to frame proposed changes as benefiting the entire company and its employees and customers, rather than just themselves, Mr. Sachs says. He cites a former executive at a retail drug chain who helped persuade top management to stop selling cigarettes in its stores. While the move tracked with the company’s health-focused mission, the executive strengthened her case by correctly predicting that it would attract more health-minded customers.

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