There has been, and will continue to be, much written during this coronavirus outbreak about the application of ethics to the decision-making processes in hospitals, the halls of power and the institutions which have traditionally shaped our lives – public and private. Our CEO Vanessa Pigrum and Lead Moderator Peter Mares have both written on these topics.
We’ve already shared some articles and pod-casts on these topics – you can find them on our site in the news and alumni curated content pages, and our social channels. As the impact of the outbreak shows no sign of lessening in the immediate future, and the volume of content on current and future virus-related issues grows, we will be gathering some of the more thought-provoking pieces here as they are published. Please revisit periodically to read or listen to newly added thought pieces.
Alumnus Jerome Reid, Australian Department of Defence – Joint Capabilities Group – talks about the power of ethical thinking and how the Cranlana program “completely deconstructed the entire fabric” of his thinking. “I realised I needed to rethink my decision-making, shed my biases and rethink my world view.”
“An ethical leader is at pains to question how they live with the contradictions and tensions of leading in a modern organisation and how to do that in an ethically rigorous way. It’s about building a better society.”
Qantas Magazine, April 2020
A crisis on this scale can reorder society in dramatic ways, for better or worse. Here are 34 big thinkers’ predictions for what’s to come.
Politico, 19 March 2020
2020 has provided a range of unwelcome challenges to every sector. Worryingly, some leaders haven’t responded as well as they could have, or in ways which have engendered public trust and confidence.
Following up the latest Edelman Trust Barometer a supplementary study, conducted in early February, “demonstrated that the national bushfire crisis sparked a dramatic decline in trust from an all-time high of 68 points in the informed public to 59 points, a 9-point drop in just three months.
“Australia’s informed public saw a severe breakdown of trust from the government in response to the bush fire catastrophes. This should have been an opportunity to unite the nation and build security, but instead, the lack of empathy, authenticity and communications crushed trust across the country,” said Michelle Hutton, Edelman CEO.
How confident are you in your abilities to respond to a crisis?
via FIA, March 2020
Companies that want more satisfied employees and stronger performance need to invest in understanding what motivates people in their work lives and pay attention to the emotional side of organisational culture. But the importance of emotional culture is not just definitional. The type of emotional culture an organisation or a department has predicts many important work outcomes, including employee absenteeism, teamwork, burnout, satisfaction, psychological safety, and objective performance outcomes like operating costs.
Leaders need to know how to nurture a culture which delivers benefits for the organisation and employees, particularly as the workforce starts to expect more from their employers in terms of values alignment.
via MIT Sloan Management Review, 6 November 2019
Ethics involve hard choices. Hugo Slim, Co-founder of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights, says in emergencies humans tend to become more ethical than usual, both as individuals and as collectives. We may panic buy and feel scared, but deep down we also know it is a time for exceptionally ethical conduct and for virtues that we do not always show, like kindness, humanity, courage, selflessness, and a commitment to the common good.
He identifies four areas of focus as we create new emergency ethics for the world, including good leadership which is “an essential factor in emergency ethics. Doing the right thing at the right time is not easy… Leadership is difficult, stressful, and lonely, which means leaders should have our support and understanding when they are acting with integrity in crisis.”
via The New Humanitarian, 18 March 2020
No matter your age, your role, your position, your title, your profession, or your status, Peter Bregman argues that to get your most important work done, you have to have hard conversations, create accountability, and inspire action.
He identifies four essential elements that all great leaders rely on to rally people to accomplish what’s important to them.
Harvard Business Review, 13 July 2018
In these two episodes of The Minefield podcast Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens tackle some of the biggest questions being asked as the outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus) unfolds – what now and where to?
With guest Paul Komesaroff, a practising physician and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University and Director of the Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, they explore what our reactions to the outbreak say about who we are. With Stephanie Collins, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University, they consider what communal life might look like post-Covid.
The scale of the outbreak’s impact means that choices need to be made when life begins to return to ‘normal’. Will we do things the same way and just press the start button, or will we choose to make changes and operate differently in the future? Life at the end of 2020 will certainly look different to life at the beginning of the year, but how?
via ABC, 18 & 25 March 2020
There have been a number of articles written, including by our CEO, on the approaches healthcare professionals could and should adopt when making decisions about the allocation of scarce resources during crises.
All draw on key philosophical concepts to define what is just. There are a number of lenses through which to view the issues such as utlitiarianism, contractualism, egalitarianism and virtue ethics. However, there are no rules or guidelines which will provide absolute certainty in extraordinary situations. When it comes to the crunch, individuals in leadership positions and on the front line must make the best decisions they can.
All leaders must be prepared to face, at some point, unforeseen and complex challenges. While the current crisis is an extreme example, these are not the times to start thinking about your own personal ethics and convictions. Confidently making decisions at such times requires leaders to already have a strong, well developed ethical framework upon which to build their thinking. For their own benefit, and because, ultimately, the community needs to rely on the judgement of its leaders, and trust that they have our best interests at heart.
via The Atlantic and ABC, 11 & 18 March 2020
As the outbreak of COVID-19 engulfs more of our lives we are increasingly faced with serious ethical questions about what ordinary people should be obliged to do for others. Acting selfishly has more consequences than usual right now.
This article explores why it’s so important that individually we all exercise ethical judgement and offers some guidelines to navigate the moral challenges created by COVID-19, with the reminder that as the stakes rise, acts of kindness and support are more important than ever before.
The Conversation, 24 March 2020
This short piece by Alain de Botton on Camus’ famous novella about a plague is very clever and beautifully written. Recognising and acknowledging the strange days in which we’re currently living, it introduces, says our Moderator Frank di Giorgio, “a broader existential perspective to our collective situation.”
via New York Times, 19 March 2020
The Australian Human Right Commission’s landmark report recommends a series of changes to the Sex Discrimination Act and Fair Work Act, finding the rate of change required to prevent and respond to sexual harassment at work over the past 35 years had been disappointingly slow.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Cranlana alumna Kate Jenkins said the legal and regulatory system was “simply no longer fit for purpose”.
The Australian, 6 March 2020
What makes an effective leader? Sunnie Giles asked 195 leaders in 15 countries and over 30 global organisations to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. The most highly rated at 67% is ‘high ethical and moral standards’. Find out why acting on this to create a safe environment is what Sunnie Giles describes as the number one job for leaders.
via Harvard Business Review, 15 March 2016
Every year, in the second or third week of January, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of Black Rock, writes a letter to CEOs of the world. As one of, if not the, largest investors in the world – BlackRock oversees $7 trillion – these letters have impact. CEOs and Boards pay attention, and they react. As the New York Time’s Michael Barbaro says, his letters have ‘a kind of biblical quality in the world of business.’ This year Larry Fink has addressed the climate crisis.
via The New York Times, 24 February 2020
As the Covid-19 crisis escalates, governments around the world are announcing policies to stop the spread and soften the financial impact on companies and workers. However, the global response has thus far ignored how the outbreak will affect a group of people who over the past decade have become an essential cornerstone of urban life: gig workers.
When the spread slows, some of the world’s most powerful will have to answer serious questions about how societies, economies and global structures currently operate and how sustainable our way of life really is.
CNN, 8 March 2020
One of our Moderators, Jean Ker Walsh, found that “having recently retired from my corporate role, I’ve had a couple of experiences causing me to reflect on how women are listened to when there is no title suggesting an authoritative voice. I was prompted to revisit Mary Beard’s essay on The Public Voice of Women.
“…we need to go back to some first principles about the nature of spoken authority,” Beard says, “about what constitutes it, and how we have learned to hear authority where we do.” Her essay is a short, yet provocative, read. I recommend it: Women and power: A Manifesto.”
Philosophy was once a woman’s world, ranging across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The female-inclusive and non-European perspective on the history of philosophy carried on in Europe for hundreds of years. Then, within one generation, it was removed from the canon. What impact has this had on how we think about ourselves, and build our systems?
via Aeon Media, 23 November 2018
Amia Srinivasan is the first woman and youngest person to be appointed Chichele Professor of social and political theory at Oxford University. Her essay talks about what the extraordinary mind of the octopus might tell us about intelligence, evolution and much else besides.
via London Review of Books, 7 September 2017
Who do you trust? How have we lost it, how could we regain it, and how can we reinstate integrity and truth. Hamish Macdonald is joined by Katie Allen, Jacqui Lambie, Clare O’Neil, Simon McKeon and Jack Manning Bancroft.
via ABC Q&A, 17 February 2020
“To put Australia on the path to to the most prosperous future…requires a new way of thinking and a new type of leadership which cuts across all walks of life in our great country,” says CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall. One of the keys to achieving a positive Outlook Vision is to rebuild trust in Australian business, institutions and government.
via CSIRO 2019