What happens when good people go to work? From the shop floor to the boardroom, the factory, office block, studio, café and classroom, through the MoralDNA™ Profile we’re discovering more about who bring brings the milk of human kindness to work in their packed lunch and who leaves their humanity, along with their coat, at the door.
Our Ethic of Care helps us distinguish “good” from “bad” actions. If other people are going to be inconvenienced or hurt by a decision we make, usually this decision is characterised as “the wrong thing to do”. Care calls into question our empathy – how good we are at putting ourselves in another’s shoes and acting accordingly.
History is littered with atrocities performed by people on others. In all these cases there was a mental process of dehumanizing those suffering by the perpetrators. From the mundane to the tragic; from not being bothered to get someone’s name right to mis-selling products, corporate negligence and acts of terrorism – all these factor within the Ethic of Care.
Since 2012, participants in the worldwide MoralDNA™ Profile have been telling us how they think they behave in their personal lives, as opposed to how they behave at work. In almost all cases people report a reduced Ethic of Care at work, either because they are told to behave in a certain way or because they have to put the interests of their employer over the needs of the customer. The only professions that reported a slight increase in the Ethic of Care at work were those that deal directly with caring for people: Homemaker, Religion and Healthcare.
So, what of the workers who display the greatest difference between the levels of care shown in their personal lives and those at work? From our research these include:
- Advertising and PR
An advertising professional’s job is to make you believe you don’t simply want something you need it and, on balance, can’t concern him or herself too much as to whether you are making the right choice given your particular circumstances.
Banking and investment has certainly figured highly in the ‘I’m alright Jack pull up the ladder’ school of behaviour in recent years, memorably illustrated in Goldman Sach’s executive Greg Smith’s open letter of resignation where he noted: “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets’ …” He also added that in sales meetings his colleagues were more concerned about how to make money out of people, than how to help them .
Lawyers certainly would appear to need to disassociate themselves from people in order to apply the rule of law, especially when required to defend a client who is guilty but has the right to representation.
Finally, why telecommunications workers seem to care so little about people is something that has us puzzled and we welcome your thoughts on what it is in their industry that is literally disconnecting them from the people around them.
The bottom of the list of those professions with the lowest Ethic of Care in their working lives is dominated by professions in which people are not the main ‘commodity’ and include: chemicals, oil and gas, technology, construction, automobiles, engineering, telecommunications, and industry. Two glaring exceptions to this rule are politics and the armed services.
As more and more people take the MoralDNA® Profile we continue to drill down in greater detail into how people live out their values at home and at work, how they make decisions and how this influences others.
Do you care more at home than at work? What stops you from “doing the right thing”? Join over 80,000 people from over 200 countries around the world and find out more about your values and how you make decisions.
 ‘Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs’ by GREG SMITH Published: New York Times , March 14, 2012