By Brianne Burr, Marketing –
In today’s world, morals are rapidly changing. What was once unacceptable moral or ethical behavior is sometimes encouraged; indeed, in many cases, corrupt or immoral actions are seen as the only route to be taken. Good people in poor economic or social conditions are corruptible.
Corruption’s Increasing Acceptance
Law professor Johannes Chan Man-mun of the University of Hong Kong recently addressed the issue of social values wearing away. In his words, “Corruption has grown more serious. It’s not even about people breaking the law; what is scarier is how corruption is seen as socially acceptable” (Ngo 2014).
The legal system in Hong Kong is showing evidence of such trends. For starters, Timothy Ton Hin-ming, former Independent Commission Against Corruption boss, ironically sought to excuse corrupt actions of his own overspending.
Professor Chan Man-mun’s greatest concern is the ever-present reliance on law to indicate right and wrong. The law cannot do that, he argues, because society is about much more than just law.
Specifically, he said, “It’s not just a matter of whether it’s against the law or not – it’s not black and white… Discretion is not something the law can tell you – and it’s something society cannot be without.”
Changing Societal Values
As societal values have shifted, corruption has become more mainstream. A person with “integrity loss” seems to reveal their actions guided by what is wanted at the moment, what is felt, and what is thought, rather than what is known in the heart to be right.
It seems many no longer care about how their decisions affect others. And that is a grave challenge facing society today, and it can contribute to societal downfall if the pattern is not changed.
So how do we change it? Organizations must build a culture of honesty and ethics. It starts at the top.
Compliance to ethical policies and procedures, as well as an ethical upper management “tone” are some of the tools available re-educating individuals about correct morals. It has to start somewhere.