Achieving Ethical Excellence: Volume 12


Table of contents

(20 chapters)

There is more than a bit of ‘ethical neediness’ in society. One good question is what can be done about it. The answer pursued here is that we should promote integrity aggressively and integritively. Directing attention to the arena of higher education and problems associated with academic or educational integrity, the chapter (a) discusses honor codes as a device for promoting academic integrity; (b) identifies and explains a key virtue and a vice of honor codes and, in relation to the values an honor code is meant to safeguard, a significant way in which honor codes are like a professional ethic; and (c) argues that success in this project requires abandonment of an attractive but misleading conception of ethics that suggests, wrongly, that acting rightly is simply a matter of rigid adherence to standards. To be sure, some questions about what one should do are straightforwardly and quite legitimately answered by reference to rules. In this, ethics may seem quite like law (adjudication). But one has to be careful here, lest one be seduced by the siren song of what Roscoe Pound called mechanical jurisprudence, for in law and ethics, as in the Greek myth, this does not have a happy ending. There is more to the story. In ethics (adjudication too) one confronts genuine complexity that cannot be dealt with algorithmically. This is something that we have to face head on, if we are committed to promoting integrity integritively.


The separation of powers constitutes a vital feature of western democracies, enshrined in myriad federal and state constitutions. Yet, as a broad principle, theorists struggle to pin down its precise nature, and many contend that the tripartite separation of state powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches proves simplistic and infeasible. I argue we should understand the separation of powers as a strategy used to structure relations between the separated institutions. This process of structuring empowers the creation of novel inter-relations among institutions (relations of balancing, checking, dividing, coordinating and so on), with the goal of improving their institutional integrity. In short, we separate only to reconnect.


The images of soldiers which are evoked on memorial days commonly include a number of different virtues: courage, loyalty, fraternity, etc. One ideal perhaps extolled above all others is that of sacrifice. Soldiers, according to popular moral platitudes, are lauded for the sacrifices they make for the common good. Implied in this is the expectation that soldiers ought to be the type of people who are prepared to sacrifice themselves in defence of an ideal. Within the most popular framework for morally evaluating war, Just War Theory, sacrifice tends to be understood from within the deontological, rights-based framework that modern just war theorists favour. In this chapter I will aim to show how the conclusions drawn by considering sacrifice through a deontological lens can be enriched through the addition of virtue theoretical considerations, leading to a fuller account of sacrifice.

This chapter takes a philosophical approach to the idea of sacrifice in the military. It explores whether the predominant framework used for evaluating war, Just War Theory, is a suitable framework for understanding the sacrifices soldiers, commanders, and political leaders can be asked to make in times of war. Focussing on various conceptions of sacrifice, including physical and moral sacrifices, the chapter argues that the predominantly deontological formulation of modern just war theories could be enriched by considering notions surrounding the ancient Greek concept of arete (virtue). Thus, as well as being a detailed exposition of sacrifice in war, the chapter also seeks to show how consideration of aretaic notions such as virtue, character and moral psychology can enrich just war theories responses to various issues.

The value of this research is in suggesting that soldiers are morally obligated to accept more risk than modern warfare typically places, or at least historically has placed, on them. It also has implications for military ethics education in that it suggests that soldiers’ characters should be shaped in such a way as to dispose them to sacrifice. Further, it has implications for the use of Just War Theory in international relations by introducing a moral framework through which political leaders can determine when they might be morally obligated to forgive the indiscretions of another nation, and what it means to forgive in this context. As such, it makes a contribution to a growing discussion within Just War Theory: jus post bellum – the moral norms surrounding the resolution of conflict.


This chapter takes an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in sports management and in philosophy to examine the premises underpinning the contested claim that professional athletes have a special obligation to be role models both within and beyond the sporting arena. Arguments for and against the claim are briefly addressed, as a prelude to identifying and elucidating a set of factors relevant to a consideration of this alleged special obligation. The chapter considers understandings of sport, play and athleticism from an ethical perspective and examines their relationship to professionalism to determine the extent to which ethical imperatives can logically be upheld or undermined within the professional context. The chapter concludes that professional athletes cannot be expected to be able to respond to the demand that they act as role models within and beyond the sporting arena unless the tensions implicit within that demand are articulated. The chapter calls for recognition of the complexity of ethical decision-making in the context of professional sport and recommends that the training of professional athletes should prepare them to deal with this complexity. Recognition of the complexity of decision-making with the professional sporting context suggests the need for further research into optimal training strategies for young professional athletes and into the genesis and reasonableness of the demand that such athletes act as role models both within and beyond the sporting arena.


The Australian Football League (AFL) is the premier sporting competition in Australia in terms of capital outlay, breadth of industry associations, public consumption, and arguably cultural significance. The AFL competition is now a domain of specialisations and interests, which provides vast opportunity for both sporting and non-sporting institutions seeking to utilise the game to capitalise on a society of consumption, entertainment and risk. AFL officials expect high standards of their players both on and off the field. These standards are expressed in various forms of Codes and Policies. Off field player misconduct is an ongoing concern not escaping media attention, which is a resounding indication more needs to be done by the AFL to improve responsible player character development. Whether the current education programmes are sufficient to meet the AFL’s own expectations is the central issue addressed in this chapter. As it stands AFL governance is deficient on several counts. In this chapter I will focus on three governance deficiencies: firstly, the AFL Illicit Drug Policy (IDP) contains unnecessary inconsistencies relative to its primary purpose; secondly, the present measures undertaken to ensure players have appropriate education to achieve the expected character development are far from efficacious and so arguably can be vastly improved; and thirdly, the promotion of live-odds gambling during televised games is culturally problematic and inconsistent with its own demands. The ethical grounds central to this investigation are ‘fairness’ and ‘cultural influence’. In order to resolve some of its governance concerns I will explain why the AFL should be characterised as a practice-community and as such should adopt a comprehensive virtue and value-based compliance ethical education programme consistent with its own vision and conduct expectation of its players and officials. I will argue that the AFL as a practice community is much more than simply a game, given its cultural influence, commercial associations and community programmes.


Being a director, regardless of the size or nature of the enterprise, is different to being an employee, manager, shareholder or customer. It is not size or dollar value that makes the responsibilities of a board member different from those of an executive. Some, for instance ethical responsibilities, are common regardless of size. One key issue is to do with personal integrity and another to do with the integrity of decision making by the board. The chapter looks at who should be responsible for training the board, and provides a conceptual framework on which training could be based. Practice and example are the key ways in which ethics is learnt, and examples are provided of the way in which case studies can be used to enhance personal integrity and moral courage, and to develop and entrench decision processes in the board which enhance the integrity of its decision making.


As organizational misconduct, fraud and abuse increasingly make news headlines, public opinion is hardening against organizations that engage in illegal or unethical practices. Regulators are now acknowledging whistleblowers as frontline watchdogs, while governments are legislating to protect employees who report illegitimate conduct. However, many organizations are out of step: punishing or ignoring employees who speak up. These organizations run the risk that bad behaviour goes unchecked and that internal whistleblowers take their concerns outside the organization, creating reputational damage and potential legal ramifications. We argue that companies need to get back in step with society by encouraging employee voice as an early internal warning system to detect organizational misconduct. A five-step action plan is presented to enable management to create an ethical environment that encourages, trains and rewards employees to speak up openly about ethical concerns.

Publication date
Book series
Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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