Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being a Jerk is Unethical

Part of being an ethical person is treating others with basic, not superficial, courtesy.

Judging from what I've seen in the workplace, a surprising number of people would disagree with that. They think ethical behavior = honesty and integrity and not a whole lot beyond those two. Being courteous or nice is seen as a fluffy option and not an ethical requirement.

Consider, however, the effects of unpleasant behavior. It fosters acrimony and distrust, divides teams, lowers productivity and effectiveness and, by doing all of those, squanders the resources of the employer. A person who intentionally wasted company supplies or broke company equipment would be regarded as treating those items in an unethical manner. Why shouldn't someone who is abusive to co-workers be seen as unethical?

Surveys have indicated that most Americans regard respect, concern for others, and fairness as important ethical values. The jerks who are technically honest but personally obnoxious need to expand their view of ethics.


Big Jerk said...

But, people cater to jerks. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," goes the trite saying, but it works! When you complain loudly enough, people will do as you say just to get you to stop being a jerk.

Michael Wade said...

That's absolutely correct. Jerks often do get their way, but that result does not justify the means.

The non-jerks should follow a rule that jerk-like behavior results in a worse deal for the jerk and not a better one. That which is rewarded gets done.

Anonymous said...

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease"

And sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced.

Anonymous said...

I'm a relief distributor of a company that delivers to a Safeway store # 3500 no matter what I do they "2-recievers + manager" are always a jerk to me, "Niceness, conversation" I have tried, take into play this is another distributors route so it could be they dont like him but I wanna fix this, at least for me. Any suggestions to what I can try, I know this sounds a little odd but I never ever have a problem during my route coverage for others, thanks.