Temptations in the Office
Ethical Choices and Legal Obligations
A lawyer explains the difference between law and ethics—what you can do versus what you should do—and how leaders can create more ethical, satisfying, and profitable workplaces.
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Sex, money, and power. Themes from the latest potboiler? No, these are key temptations in a place we all know well: The office. People work most productively in humane environments with high ethical standards. Management must set the tone by talking about, and embodying, values that promote decent behavior. But how? This book considers key workplace challenges—including sexual harassment, conflicts of interest, greed, and abuse of power—in which gray areas abound (It may be legal, but . . . ). There is hope. As Stephen Goldman shows in this book, companies can move in the right direction by combining clear thinking about right and wrong and an understanding of the requirements the law imposes on conduct. And his simple guidelines for behavior will stand companies and individuals in good stead when temptations arise.
Goldman draws on his experience as a corporate litigator, Oxford-trained philosopher, and businessperson to show readers how to lead organizations committed to behaving both ethically and legally in all situations. And he does it in a new way. Most books on business ethics take one of two approaches. On the one hand are books heavily laden with excerpts from the giants of moral philosophy. They are too abstract to be useful in solving day-to-day problems. On the other hand are anecdotal books that tell interesting stories. But they do little more than present conundrums, without describing any logical method business people can use to resolve the unique problems that they are sure to face in their careers. Goldman offers a different approach, one that combines illustration and principle. Covering such timely topics as sexual harassment, questionable accounting, discrimination, and ethically corrupt corporate cultures, Goldman shows readers how to recognize the distinctions between can and should, communicate and promote the organization's commitment to honesty and trust, and measure the rewards. Even better, the book offers methods for solving key problems businesses face day in and day out. The result? Readers will stay on the straight and narrow path—to a great company culture, satisfying work, and financial success.
- Table of Contents
PART ONE: ETHICAL CHOICES AND LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
I. How to Think About Ethical Choices
II. Economics, Law, and Business Choices
III. Injecting Principled Decision-Making into Ethical Decisions: The Foursquare Protocol
PART TWO: TEMPTATIONS IN THE OFFICE
IV. Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination, and Paramour Preference
V. The Multiple Dimensions of Conflicts of Interest
VI. Incentive Compensation: Honesty, Greed, and Fraud
VII. Money: Cutting Corners with Your Customers
VIII. Power Wrong-Doing: The Neglected Stepchild
CONCLUSION: Face the Facts, Tell the Truth, Run on Time
"Goldman (law, Catholic University of America) provides a theoretical framework for dealing with ethical challenges in the office and provides practical advice and examples of ethical choices in business based on his litigation and business experience. . . . Recommended."
"Temptations in the Office by Stephen Goldman is a book in the best tradition of legal approaches to the application of ethics. It is stylistically clear and methodically admirable."
"I've been a trial lawyer and as a result, a small businessman for the best part of 50 years. My only regret on reading Professor Goldman's new book is that I hadn't had it earlier in my career. It is a practical, intelligent and readable work on a difficult subject and should be on every businessman's book shelf."
"With experience in both the law and in business management, Goldman offers clear, everyday theoretical situations alongside examples drawn from newspapers and court opinions to illustrate the importance of ethics in running every aspect of a business....It's easy to imagine a list of former corporate titans who would have benefited from reading Temptations in the Office-and might yet do so in their cells in federal penitentiaries. In the meantime, Goldman offers an immensely useful, practical volume that should be required reading for anyone in a position to make business decisions at every level of management."