Ethics at Work
Creating Virtue at an American Corporation
Publication Year: 2013
Daniel Terris spent two years researching Lockheed Martin materials and interviewing its ethics officers and ordinary employees to develop this rich case study of the ethics program at this powerful global corporation. This study begins with a survey of American attitudes toward ethics in business over the past century, raising the question of whether ethics can be genuinely built into the modern mega-corporation. Terris then develops a portrait of Lockheed Martin--its history and the nature of its far-flung businesses--turning at last to its ethics program, which was created following a series of bribery, overcharging, and corruption scandals in the 1970s and 1980s.
By 1996, Lockheed Martin had in place some dull, preachy ethics programs designed to provide basic information on telling right from wrong in business practice. But then-CEO Norm Augustine wanted to liven things up, so he turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: the irreverent Dilbert comic strip. The company came up with a board game that resembled Clue, but used Dilbert characters to explore ethical case studies drawn from real-life Lockheed Martin incidents. Terris examines the success of the board game, as well as subsequent efforts including special workshops, a film festival, and biennial ethics surveys to engage employees in broad-based discussions of ethics at work.
Although Terris applauds Lockheed Martin's ethics program as "gloriously democratic" in its focus on the responsibility of every worker for the ethical dimensions of his or her actions, he is concerned that the broad-based focus tends to divert attention from the ethical responsibilities of senior management and the moral complexities of collective decision-making. While he admires the ambitious scope of the program, he notes that the corporation's definition of "ethics" focuses on individual behavior rather than on the impact of the corporation's broader policies on local, national, and global communities. The ultimate effect of such programs may be to create more ethical business practices--but, ironically, at the expense of the public good.
Published by: Brandeis University Press
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The leaders and staﬀ of the division of Ethics and Business Conduct atthe Lockheed Martin Corporation provided me with access and assis-tance at every step of my research. They do not fully agree with the con-clusions that I have drawn about their corporation, but I appreciate andadmire the way that they were willing to subject their work to an out-...
Introduction: In the Shadow of the Skunk Works
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D s me at the entrance of the Lockheed Martin fa-cility in Palmdale, California, just outside the security oﬃce, the creditunion, and the gift shop carrying toy models of U-s and Stealth ﬁghters.1An understated man in his ﬁfties, Sanders is the site’s full-time ethicscharged with communicating and implementing the company’s values....
1 | Titans and Warhogs
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A concern about the moral behavior of busi-nesses and business leaders since the earliest years of European settle-ment in the New World. Even while the United States developed theworld’s most productive capitalist environment, ideas about what con-stituted appropriate behavior in the business community became part...
2 | Success and Scandal
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L is the size of a small city, but itsreach is global. Its , employees work in nearly facilities scat-tered around forty-ﬁve states and dozens of foreign countries. Each yearin the twenty-ﬁrst century, the corporation has sold more than $ bil-lion worth of airplanes, missiles, detection systems, information plat-...
3 | Peeling Back the Onion
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C men and women crowd the Palm Room at theGrand Hyatt Hotel in Orlando, Florida, for the start of the annualEthics Oﬃcer Conference for the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Clean-cut, casual, welcoming to a new face, ranging in age from their mid-thirties to their early sixties, they are at their ease. The Orlando Hyatt is...
4 | Vulnerabilities
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F successes, there are signiﬁcant limitations to LockheedMartin’s approach to ethics. Measured against its own standards andthose of the contemporary ethics industry, Lockheed Martin’s programshines. Measured against the expectations of the broader culture, how-There is a signiﬁcant gap between how corporate America judges it-...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013