Ethics tutorials have been developed to help employees and students understand the rules of appropriate
I had a real-life ethics experience when I
conduct in the organization.1,2 An important
component in these tutorials is that
they feature current issues of workplace
misconduct and wrongdoing. Once
an employee has completed the
tutorial, they should “know” their
organization’s expectations of ethical
conduct. But is this enough?
Having this ethical knowledge
is important, but knowing the
right thing to do is not the same as
doing what’s right. In fact, there
are a number of barriers that make action-
oriented ethics challenging for even the most
spent a decade working side-by-side with an
employee who engaged in criminal conduct. 3
What did I learn from my unique experience?
One lesson in real-life ethics was that I was
wrong to assume that knowing what’s right
will lead to doing what’s right.
Others had observed the criminal
transgressions years before I became aware
of them. What stopped these colleagues
from taking action? Fear was number one.
Next were a number of realistic concerns: job
security and retaliation. Other issues included
peer-pressure and co-worker loyalty. No
one wanted to rock the boat. In addition,
there was also a misguided perception that
the institution wouldn’t do anything. The
Would an ethics tutorial have helped?
The tutorial plays a critical role in improving
the understanding of the organization’s
commitment to a strong ethical climate, but it
may not provide enough motivation to take
Ethics and “Breaking Bad”:
Developing and practicing
» Ethics tutorials increase knowledge of the organization’s rules of conduct.
» “Ethical learning” is a novel approach to develop action‑oriented ethical skills.
» Learner‑centered education can promote critical thinking skills.
» Discussions about ethical conflicts improve decision‑making skills.
» Using a popular television series can enhance the learning experience.
by Amy Block Joy
Having this ethical
knowledge is important,
to do is not the same as
doing what’s right.