Learning and Development Ethics: Article 1 of 9

Written by Dr Hannes Nel, D. Com; D. Phil

The problem with unethical behaviour is not just that it damages the image of the learning institution or quality assurance body, but rather that it can easily become a national trend, almost a culture and that it can reduce the country to yet another anarchy run by war lords and criminals. Unethical behaviour affects not only the guilty people but a multitude of people around them.

Leaders on all levels in learning do not seem to understand the dire consequences of their greed. People are often really good at rationalising their unethical behaviour. They do not understand that it is not the excuse for the unethical behaviour that is doing the damage but rather the criminal act.

I will discuss the following issues related to ethical behavior in the provision of learning, broken down into 9 weekly articles, starting with this one.

  1. If you are corrupt you are already in trouble.
  2. The consequences of unethical behaviour are never good.
  3. When is unethical behaviour acceptable?
  4. Honour your promises and commitments.
  5. Do your work and learning in the open.
  6. Eliminate offensive words and comments from your vocabulary.
  7. Say no to negativity.
  8. Stop blaming others for things that go wrong.
  9. Be truthful.
  10. Embrace racial, cultural and creative diversity.
  11. Don’t confuse “cutting corners” with efficiency.
  12. Know your job – inside and out.
  13. Recognize others’ efforts, contributions, and ethical behaviour.
  14. Go the extra mile.
  15. Practice patience, understanding and empathy.
  16. Talk with people, not at them.
  17. Make it safe to do work and learn with you.
  18. Accept that people sometimes make mistakes.
  19. Make it safe to be ethical.

In closing, we are all tired of people writing and talking while almost nothing is done to change things for the better. The problem is, when we no longer at least talk we might give up entirely and then we will be in really serious trouble. People get used to bad circumstances and once they have adapted they either learn how to gain from the bad situation or they just stop caring. Let’s not give up. You are most welcome to respond to the articles.

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