Ethics or lack of opportunities?

Dear reader,

"I can resist anything - except temptation" once recognized Oscar Wilde describing hereby a deeply human trait. Utmost attention is thus advised if one climbs the high "ethical" horse as the fall is looming already with the next moral hurdle. We all should ask ourselves in a self-critical manner, as to whether we behave ethically correct by own motivation and deeply rooted conviction or merely by a lack of opportunities.

Even companies appear to be guided in this respect by a certain amount of scepticism, as more and more employers conduct integrity tests especially prior to filling top positions. Integrity in this context is much more than just lawful behaviour. It is more about orientating one's behaviour to a value system. In an ideal fashion, no one should place her or his value system immediately as universally valid. Ethical responsibility also means to check this own value system again and again as to whether it is compatible with generally accepted values and behaviours. But even in case such compatibility exists, it is not yet a waranty of a really acceptable value system. History shows: people and their value systems are subject to corruption, however to a differing extent they fall victim to such temptations. Ethical leadership, thus, always needs to be more than the claim to represent the ultimate law which needs to be followed by everyone.

Admittedly, we do neither want nor need holy persons in companies capable of conducting wonders, who eventually can divide the sea and can alter water into free beer. However, there is a simple test question a manager or an employee can ask oneself for a personal check: "Do I treat other people the very same way I want to be treated?"

In this sense, integrity creates also trust. And trust is an important currency in working live, as employees pay it back with interest. Nobody, however, wants to collaborate in the long-term with managers, colleagues and employees who are not considered to be integer and trustworthy or whose value compass is in urgent need of re-calibration. Ethics in this way has an immediate economic component. Ethics and successful management are complementary in a compelling way.

That's why we have chosen the focus "ethics and leadership" for this issue of our magazine. Of course, the authors who have contributed to it can deal with this topic in a much more competent and deeper fashion than is possible in this editorial.

I wish you an inspiring lecture of this issue of "Perspektiven", above all a peaceful and merry Christmas as well as a successful move into the New Year.


Ulrich Goldschmidt