Better Ethics Now: Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming (Second Edition)
by Christopher Bauer, Ph.D.
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck

Ethics – When you hear the word does your mind go to the Enron and WorldCom debacles? Or do you think of an employee allocating office supplies for home use? Well, according to Dr. Bauer, you should think both, and any ethical issues in between.

Printed across the top of the cover of this book is written, “REAL WORLD TOOLS TO PREVENT ETHICS PROBLEMS”. I agree with this statement. This toolbox on Ethics does present the tools to develop the ethics code, plus how to train, how to prevent violations, and how to live the written code; it provides in-depth explanation linking the Ethics Code to the guiding values (personal or business). The Appendix has worksheets and instructions to help work through the process.

Two themes that I found in this book fit every day business. The first theme is that the typical ethics violators are not the truly criminal minded individuals. It is usually one of three cases: didn’t know about the ethics code; didn’t understand the ethics code; or the observer (my descriptor). The observer is the employee who follows management’s actions. This leads to the second theme. Actions of management, from the front-line supervisor to the boardroom, have great impact on all employees. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies very well here.

Dr. Bauer explains that part of a successful ethics code is to prevent violations. The Four Hallmarks of Effective Prevention are (Chapter 8):

  1. Well-Articulated Ethics and Values Statements
  2. Effective Processes for Assessing Threats to Ethics and Compliance
  3. Clear and Enforceable Procedures for Dealing with Red Flags and Violations
  4. Clarity That Ethical Behavior Is a Cornerstone of Your Business Practices

I found this chapter to be very interesting because of all the many ethics codes I have seen over my career, none has addressed the prevention aspect.

In business writing today there is a lot of focus on mission and value statements by many authors. The missing leg of the business triangle is Ethics! Every business wants to be run ethically but it does not always happen. Unfortunately, well meaning senior management or Human Resources departments don’t always have the appropriate training/tools in ethics code development.

Better Ethics Now is the book that should be studied (it is an easy read) by individuals to better understand their personal ethics, and should be studied, and used, by senior management to build better ethics within their businesses.


Steven G. Lauck, PMP President, Lauck PM Consultants Certified Project Management Professional, trainer, mentor and coach, Operational planning (aligning company vision, objectives and employee goals), Technical magazine Quality Editorial Auditor, Business process change agent and reviewer for The CEO Refresher. To have your book reviewed and featured please contact valuaddpm@earthlink.net and send a copy to:

Steven G. Lauck, PMP,
Lauck PM Consultants,
4204 Dutch Hollow Road,
Aurora, IN 47001 .

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Copyright 2007 by Steven G. Lauck. All rights reserved.

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