My favorite ethics exercise is “Where Do You Draw the Line?” In this simulation, participants are given different scenarios and must determine whether the behavior is acceptable, somewhat acceptable, somewhat unacceptable or unacceptable.

What the groups don’t know is that even though the character in each group has the same name, each group has a different scenario with a similar bottom line. So, when the groups process as a whole, there is often much discussion and debate about how one group could find “Adam’s” behavior acceptable while the other emphatically found it unacceptable.

For example: In one scenario Adam took $10 worth of pencils from work and gave them to a charity (often seen as acceptable or somewhat acceptable) while another group has Adam taking $10 from someone’s purse (usually seen as unacceptable). Both scenarios involve ten dollars – where do you draw the line?

The ethics line can quickly become fuzzy when you start applying rationale to justify why something that could be seen as wrong should be allowed in certain circumstances. Strive for a clear demarcation of your ethics line.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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