Corporations And The Ethical Three Ring Circus

Some may say in jest that organizations are reminiscent of a three-ring circus. Well, within those three rings it is the procurement professionals who are the ethical tightrope walkers.

Right now, there are individuals in every corporation who are treading the ethical fine-line because of expediency, undue pressure or perhaps because they don’t know any better. Fear of potential ramifications to career and reputation can, ironically, keep many from questioning clearly inappropriate behavior from someone they perceive to have more power than they do within the organizational environs.

Why is it so difficult for businesses to consistently maintain high ethical standards? As an independent observer, many would sit on the throne of judgment and consider themselves imbued with a much higher moral standard and wax poetic about the failings of others.

But life isn’t black and white. In fact, right is rarely diametrically opposed to wrong. It is sometimes easier to “turn a blind eye” as opposed to following Hamlet’s path and suffer “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Many situations are cloaked with uncertainty, incomplete information, multiple points of view, contradictory responsibilities and pressure, external or self-imposed.

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