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Whats the best way to train people in the skills of challenge others’ unethical behaviours?


We already run training on giving feedback and I would like to give this training a different spin as it's aimed at them challenging their peers rather than direct reports.
Joanna Singleton

6 Responses

  1. Freewill?
    Is it just me but I am always troubled by these kind of questions? Employers shouldnt be training staff to challenge others unethical behaviours….where does this stop…being constantly hassled for coughing etc etc. Ethics are not law and are flexible depending on societie’s viewpoint eg. a few decades ago hanging was acceptable and the norm, so was smoking.
    Sure you can train staff on issues surrounding discrimination in whatever form however whether staff chose to intervene or not or taken any action if it happens to them or if they are simply a witness is a matter for the staff member.
    Getting people to challenge each other on ethical issues without understanding the wider context or implications is a recipe for antagonism and disciplinaries.
    Challenging discrimination, well thats a different topic in itself and something that in some instances may be a matter of personal choice.

  2. Guessing here
    In answer to “What’s the best way to train people in the skills of challenging others’ unethical behaviours?”, I would say that acquisition of knowledge, skills and values is more likely to be achieved by using trainee-centred activities such as small-group problem-solving, simulation or role-play, rather than by trainer-centred activities such as a presentation, which is unlikely to impact on skills and values.

    If I have misunderstood your question please say so.

  3. It depends what’s meant by ethics
    Juliet’s concern over where to draw the line is a good one. However, there are certain legal behaviours that an organisation might nevertheless want to discourage (e.g knowingly making false promises to clients or colleagues).

    Rather than leave the decision about what constitutes unethical behvaviour up to individuals, the company should probably start by developing some guidelines. Involving a cross-section of staff in the development of these usually leads to better ownership.

  4. you could put some challenge into “unethical”
    I like Juliet’s comment and think she makes a very valid point.
    There certainly are some behaviours which I’m sure we can agree are unethical; lying to clients or staff, stealing or fiddling expenses.
    And there are some behaviours which may seem acceptable to some but not to others; having a relationship with a work colleague.
    Perhaps you could ask delegates how they would deal with a given selection of obvious and less obvious issues so as to open the debate that asks “Is this ACTUALLY unethical/ethical?”
    That in itself may be enough to start the issue and to set the tone for the subject of challenging either peers or super ordinates.

    Food for thought?


  5. Really good input, thank you
    Some really interesting views and ideas, thank you.

    I agree about using trainee-centred activities and scenarios. This is the way we currently run sessions of this nature and I would like to try something different. Perhaps a fish bowl role play with someone trying to challenge another…?

  6. organizational culture
    First, assess the organizational culture. What types of behavior are modeled by the leaders or executives; what are the circumstances surrounding promotions, demotions and terminations; what behaviors are rewarded and punished? If there is a culture of bullying, anyone confronting bad behavior will be harshly retaliated against. Ethics and safety have to be built into the culture first. If not, this type of confrontation is suicidal; and useless. For an example of organizational bullying, glance across the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, a near majority of the employees must be
    willing to confront the bosses’ bullying, sociopathic,and toxic behavior. These bosses survive through intimidation AND destroying those unwilling to collaborate with them; because the bullies know they have little to no competence. The employees must advocate for the targets and not blame the victim.

    Try small steps within one’s peer group.


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