We saw this week two examples of corporate unethical conduct from organisations with all the codes of conduct in place but no ethical or moral being.
PwC and BHP:
- PwC Australia scandal: what actually happened and will it be fatal for the advisory firm?
- BHP admits to underpaying workers for 13 years
It is so easy to trot out the spin of ethics and have no ethic. It’s so easy to generate the Propaganda of ethics and have no ethic and, the bigger the organisation, the easier it is to maintain the façade of ethics.
Ethics is not about codes of ethics, moral philosophy is not about an idea in a university text.
One’s ethic (ethos) is one’s disposition, how one is oriented towards the world and others.
One’s orientation (methodology) generates one’s method. And so, we see in these two examples listed above the methodology of Greed, corporate spin, Money, Power and faux deontological ethics generates the Freedom to Harm. The underlying philosophy is Utilitarianism that enables the freedom to harm. When people are objects in a system, no amount of changes to a system brings about any change in ethos.
Of course, in the safety world there is no discussion about ethics that includes the questioning of power, discussion of personhood, moral philosophy or political interest. These are all put in the ‘too hard’ basket yet, no matter what is written by Safety these remain hidden and assumed in the text. A good example is the use of the word ‘ethics’ in S2 texts but no definition or discussion about ethics or moral philosophy. It is assumed that everyone know what ethics is.
This is how Safety is made the hotbed for all sorts of nonsense paraded about as if what it does makes sense.
When critical thinking is named as ‘non-compliance’, the floodgates are opened up to all kinds of nonsense that Safety names as ‘thought leadership’ when it is just mindless Propaganda. This is how utter nonsense like 1% safer (https://safetyrisk.net/1-safer-than-what/) thrives in an industry that cannot think critically. This is why the religious ideology of zero is the global mantra (https://safetyrisk.net/the-spirit-of-zero/) for an industry that can’t think. This is how the freedom to harm is justified (https://safetyrisk.net/ai-and-safety-brutalism-on-steroids/).
When one is not clear about one’s ethic (methodology and on ontology) then any method takes hold as if slogans and spin are ‘different’.
One can even parade about books on methods that are not about method.
This is how large organisations like PwC and BHP foster corruption justified in the name of ‘good’. And many of these organisations have their codes of ethics in place, their slogans for safety are zero or ‘safety is out number 1 priority’, but such discourse is meaningless. Then once the non-discerning safety crowd are hoodwinked into the discourse, one can do as one likes.
This is what DuPont did for 50 years, the so-called global leader in safety, the zero harm myth maker, that harmed thousands whilst parading about the spin of zero (https://safetyrisk.net/dark-waters-the-true-story-of-dupont-and-zero/). Hey, but don’t criticise DuPont, that would be anti-safety! Yes, believe the impossible (https://safetyrisk.net/believe-the-impossible-and-speak-nonsense-to-people/) and continue to speak nonsense to people. No-one in Safety seems to stop for a second and connect the facts that DuPont and its behaviourist philosophy (methodology) drives its methods of harm. And people still spruik the spin of DuPont as some kind of safety leader.
Deep down at the very roots of living and being in the world stands the importance of ethics, the foundation for professionalism. Deep down, one’s orientation (ethos) stands as the methodology that drives method. This is why Safety never talks about ethics or moral philosophy, and thus enables brutalism in the name of good.
So, here is Safety so keen to use the word ‘professional’ yet never defines a moral philosophy (methodology) that is essential to be professional. Just look at the INSHPO document on professionalism (https://www.inshpo.org/work ) and see if you can find anything on power, personhood, helping, care, ethics or moral philosophy? It’s not there. How could such things be there when the global mantra for safety is zero!
This is how safety can generate documents on so-called research that are not about research (https://safetyrisk.net/researching-within-the-safety-echo-chamber/ ). Ethics documents that not about ethics (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-ethics-spor-and-how-to-foster-the-abuse-of-power/). Culture documents that are not about culture (https://safetyrisk.net/language-shapes-culture-in-risk/ ).
This is how one can publish as many documents as one likes, even call them ‘differently’ and yet there is no shift in disposition (ethos) or philosophy. This is how one makes a code of ethics meaningless. This is how one can do a risk assessment that doesn’t tackle risk. Then people wonder why nothing changes in safety where the methodologies of behaviourism and engineering are adored and thrive.
Unless the methodology is different, the ‘doing’ that follows will not be different.
If you are interested in a different methodology with different methods you can register for the two SPoR workshops as follows:
- In Vienna from 26-30 June (https://safetyrisk.net/workshops-with-dr-long-vienna-austria-26-30-june-2023/) and
- Canberra 18-21 September 2023 (https://spor.com.au/september-canberra-workshop/).
These workshops will help you move away from: the engineering/behaviourism/positivism approach to safety, identifying with Safety and the myth of objectivity and, discover methods that actually work to humanise risk (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/).