Issue 19: February 2016
This quarter Setting the Example focuses on the crucial issue of ethical decision making. We explore the case brought by the FBI against Apple which surfaces the ethical dilemma between national security and personal privacy and data security, and we invite you to share your views on this case. Our guest article adds to the topic of ethical decision making, advocating that sound critical thinking is essential for sound ethical decisions. Our commentary on Nkandla, negative role models and sycophantic followers looks at what can be learnt from unethical examples. We are also very pleased to announce the launch of our first two ethics CPD workshops.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Launch of 2 ethics CPD workshops

Quality ethics training is an ideal way to increase employees’ knowledge about workplace ethics and to build a better understanding of their ethical roles and responsibilities. Together with the consequent increase in ethical awareness, these workshops can add meaningful impetus to any organisation’s ethics initiatives. The workshops are intended to be conducted sequentially and are designed for managers and employees across all sectors and industries. Our workshops are accredited by the SABPP (the South African Board of People Practices) as CPD workshops, which is relevant for SDL requirements. Queries...

A practical, interactive 1 day workshop that builds a sound understanding of workplace ethics as a platform to improve and promote ethical conduct

A practical, interactive 1 day workshop that builds an understanding of workplace ethics to promote higher levels of personal ethical responsibility



What do you think Apple should do?

Making ethical choices and ethical decisions is clearly crucial to achieve an ethical outcome. Indeed, the choice between good or right versus bad or wrong is a defining feature of ethics. Ethics can therefore be viewed as a “choice with consequences”, given that those choices or decisions will shape whether the resulting behaviour or action is ethical or unethical. This is being played out with really high stakes in the case brought by the FBI against Apple, that has resulted in a US Magistrate ordering Apple to assist the US Government in unlocking the iPhone of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack on 2 December 2015. But Apple has refused and is taking the matter on appeal.

But Apple has refused and is taking the matter on appeal.

Given that this represents one of the most serious future ethical dilemmas of our technology-driven era, we invite your views about which side you support and which argument you consider most important. Read more...



To the extent that we can learn from what’s wrong and unethical as much as we can from what’s good (and sometimes more), the ethical lessons arising from the Nkandla saga deserve our attention. Read more …



by Shelley Childs

Sound critical thinking and analysis helps ensure that today’s ethical problem does not become tomorrow’s crisis. The ‘unintended’ ethical consequences of decisions can often be anticipated or mitigated by more rigorous fact finding, thinking and analysis. Read more …
Ethics in sport: Who’s winning? Who’s losing?
Ethical scandals are not new in the world of sport. While sports ethics in the past may have been largely been focused on the line between cheating and gamesmanship, the professionalization of many sports has increased the stakes and the amount of money involved. And with that, the ethical breaches have also increased.

Cycling was negatively impacted by Lance Armstrong and cricket was tainted by various scandals including match fixing, which always brings Hansie Cronje to mind. The furore involving FIFA and its top officials has been a long running expose of misconduct and self-enrichment. Athletics is a more recent example. In November 2015 the first report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed charges of "state-sponsored" doping by athletes in Russia and its second report concluded that "corruption was embedded" within the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF). Part of the fall-out has been that in January 2016 Adidas ended its sponsorship of the IAAF.

It raises the question of whether the positive side of sports ethics typified by the idiom that a ‘good sport’ means that a player can accept a loss in a competition or game with good grace, has been lost to winning at any cost. For a more detailed analysis of the root causes of corruption in sport that also provides recommendations of what can be done to fix it, Transparency International has produced the Global Corruption Report: Sport, which was released on 23 February 2016.


Can your employees really speak freely?
By James R Detert and Ethan R Burris, Harvard Business Review, January – February 2016.
When firms promise anonymity, the subtext is “It’s not safe to share your views openly with this organization." Read more …


To stop bad behaviour, display a virtuous quote
Interview by Scott Berinato, Harvard Business Review January – February 2016 Research done at the Kenan–Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina provides noteworthy support for our November 2015 newsletter article, What do you do when unethical behaviour is an instruction?, specifically that making your ethical stance visible can serve as a deterrent to being approached or involved in wrongdoing. Read more …

About Ethics Monitoring & Management Services (Pty) Ltd

Ethics Monitoring & Management Services was started by Cynthia Schoeman to help organisations to improve ethics in the workplace and to encourage them to manage ethics proactively. Cynthia developed The Ethics Monitor, a web-based ethics survey, which enables organisations to measure, monitor and report on their ethical status. Ethics Monitoring & Management Services also offers ethics talks, workshop, consulting and training.

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Contact us

Cynthia Schoeman
Managing Director
Ethics Monitoring & Management
Services (Pty) Ltd
011 447 7661; 082 821 3729

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