Dear Ethix – Issue 38

Response to Lavengood

I was pleasantly surprised to find an article by Lawrence Lavengood in the July/August issue. I was a student of Professor Lavengood at the joint Northwestern and Tel Aviv University’s MBA program called Kellogg-Recanati. I was in the first class (1996-8) of this first-class regional bridge-building education program for Palestinian and Israeli executives alike.

Professor Lavengood is a legend in his own right. A management scholar, an outstanding professor, and a wonderful and colorful person. I guess it should be no surprise that such quality minds make it into Ethix.

Keep up the excellent work! In the midst of the Israeli occupation that we live under here, Ethix is a breath of fresh air.

Sam Bahour
Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine

Dealing with Email

Your email article was right on point. I have learned to be much more careful about my own email now.

Another thing I have learned is that humor, sincerity, anger, and other emotions are often not conveyed with any fidelity in email. There are no sound visual cues with the words, and email fails on that count more often than not. When processing 50 to 100 emails per day I have become short and clipped in my responses. I have learned that this conveys anger (I learned this years ago when someone asked me why I was always so mad after a brief email I had sent him). I have adopted a whole range of signs to help: 🙂 [smile] 🙁 [frown] 😉 [wink].

Kenneth Neves
Livermore, CA

Medina Helpful

The IBTE Conversation with Dr. Medina was fascinating! You are bringing such varied and good information to all of us “out there.” Thanks …

Shirley Lansing
Bellevue, WA

Received Ethix today … wonderful and fascinating conversation with Dr. John Medina. Now I know why I need a nap at three in the afternoon!!!

Napless Boise, ID

Another Approach for Book Buyer Dilemma

I believe there is a third approach [to the dilemma of the book buyer who felt uncomfortable working with what he considered objectionable material] that is better for all parties. Communicate to your management that, “I love my work and believe I do it well, but I’m troubled about having to order the sexually oriented material.

Although I dutifully perform this task as part of my job, I’m sure that somebody without my concerns would handle it with better energy, and perhaps with better results. Is there any chance that somebody else could handle this part of my job?”

Such a precise statement can open up a broader discussion. I once delivered the same kind of message, and found that the person I was speaking with had exactly the same concern! Indeed, out of the discussion may come some real change. More realistically, there’s a good possibility of having that objectionable part of the job split off. And since you haven’t quit or refused to do the job, there’s more chance of keeping your position and your scruples. Of course, there’s always some risk in truth telling, but nobody ever suggested that there wasn’t.

Staying on to effect change, but not telling anybody about your concern or your action strikes me as particularly ineffective – both at affecting the organization, and at dealing with your personal ethical conflicts. Finding a way to be open and direct is much more productive.

Arthur Fink
Peaks Island, ME

Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. This could be a feasible third way. Change may occur as a result of raising the objection. However, if the net effect is to simply pass the objectionable task onto someone else, this may wash the first person’s hands, but no real change in the organization’s practice has occurred. The scope of ethics is broader than simply keeping ourselves pure. Kenman Wong

Pricing Affects Piracy

The cost of intellectual property to the consumer, whether music, software, movies, or other items, is a major factor in piracy. For example, the average IT worker in Romania earns approximately $800 per month. This is significantly more than the average wage of $150. The cost for IT products in Romania is the same or even higher than the U.S. Effectively there is no legal market in Romania due to affordability issues.

The reduction in communication and transportation barriers has effectively eliminated an organization’s ability to price product based on local market conditions. This has a strong negative impact on individuals and organizations in developing countries. This impact exists in technology, intellectual property, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and many other areas.

Mark McDonald
Issaquah, WA