A Systems Approach to Ethics

During the 40 years I’ve been teaching ethics, we moved from a shareholder analysis (where the owners of the companies got all the attention) to a stakeholder analysis (where we focused on the various stakeholders that were impacted by our decisions). However, the stakeholder approach turns out to have a major flaw because we haven’t given our students the critical thinking skills or the ethical will to transcend the interests of the stakeholder groups to move to a holistic, systems approach to both ethical analysis and thoughtful, coordinated action.

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In Grit, Angela Duckworth examines the psychology behind success: the force that drives some to persevere where others give up. Peppered with anecdotes of achievers and athletes, spelling bee champions and musical prodigies, military officers and CEOs, Grit looks at the thought patterns and the habits needed to press forward in the face of life’s challenges. On its face, the book has nothing to do with ethics. And yet, whether intentionally or not, Duckworth has created a manual for ethical diligence.

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