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Ethics Training: Class Is in Session, but Can Ethics Really Be Taught?

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Case Research Assessment

Business Law


Ethics Training: Class Is in Session, but Can Ethics Really Be Taught?

Enter name, a business law student, interviewed Business Process Officer,enter name . This ethics interview took place at Pratt & Whitney Aerospace Corporation. Enter names are both employees of Pratt & Whitney Aerospace, which is a division of United Technologies. UTC is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products. The corporation designs, manufactures and services systems and components and provide integrated solutions for commercial, regional, business and military aircraft, helicopters and other platforms. It’s also a major supplier to international space program.

Name: other name, I’d like to examine ethical issues commonly arising in this business. Do you have any thoughts?

Name: Many times I'll search Google News for reports on business ethics. It's sobering to see how many stories there are on the shortcomings of corporations. Sadly, Pratt & Whitney is not immune to falling short of our own compliance and ethics goals.

Name: name, does Pratt & Whitney have a description of an ethical course of action for ethics in a business situation?

Name: Can you teach someone ethics for the workplace? University business schools strive to develop ethical leaders. Their challenge is to make it clear that right behavior is not just mom and apple pie, but sound business strategy. But I often hear from employees: How do you teach someone to be ethical? Or when it comes to our yearly reviews, how can we rate people on ethics? Shouldn't people who aren't ethical just be fired? Is it too late to make someone ethical by the time they are an adult? So what's my answer? Simple, it’s yes.. people can be taught - but maybe in a way different than you would think.

At Pratt & Whitney, we want ethics training to accomplish two things: First, create awareness of the issues and second, set clear expectations on acceptable behavior.

The awareness piece is simply to be sure people know generally what a conflict of interest is, or can spot situations where they might face a possible bribe. We don't expect people to be ethics experts, just to know when to ask a question before acting.

The behavior piece gets much more interesting. Regardless of anyone's personal belief code, we want employees to have a solid understanding of how they are expected to act at work. This is beyond merely ‘don't steal from the company’.

Name: Do you have any comparisons of various ethical perspectives that may yield different results?

Name: Cases and allegations of misconduct at Pratt & Whitney from the past three years clearly show that where we've confirmed bad behavior, generally it's not been by morally bankrupt people. Often it's normal people making bad decisions. But why? Either they failed to see the nuances involved in their decisions or they responded poorly to real or perceived pressure.

The U.S. Marine Corps offer intensive training for business leaders that is interesting and effective. It does a perfect job of putting people in the midst of stressful circumstances where bad decisions are likely to be made. Try to view it not as just telling you the rules, but as thinking about how best to act whenever a tough situation arises.

Name: That sounds like a great plan to encourage change. Do you happen to know of an experience of Pratt & Whitney’s interaction with the legal system?

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