The following workshop exercise is designed to primarily for government employees, and government executives. The exercises are simple, but involve significant discussion and discovery.
The workshop leader can guide the group to create a code of ethics from the exercise that results from the discussion. Following the steps below, and with appropriate discussion, the workshop can take more that a full day. The Workshop details follow:
Use a Socratic style of teaching for all the exercises below except where otherwise indicated. Realize that there is no “correct” answer and that this is to lead them to develop an understanding of ethics on a personal level.
1. Lead the group through a discussion of the role of government in their lives and how it helps survival of the community. Also include a discussion of what life might be like without government.
2. Discuss the things that government does that actively helps their personal survival. Participants should answer this individually on paper, followed by group discussion.
3. Identify those things that government MUST do to help the survival of communities and society. Participants should answer this individually on paper, followed by group discussion.
4. Identify how the intentional or unintentional failure of government employees to do their job weakens society and weakens the survival of the employee and their colleagues. Participants should answer this individually on paper, followed by group discussion.
5. Identify how their job helps the survival of society. Participants should answer this individually on paper, followed by group discussion.
6. Identify the most important things they personally need to do to contribute to the survival of their society by competently doing their job. Participants should answer this individually on paper, followed by group discussion.
They will discover many important things about their own thinking and what it means for the survival as a group and as a nation.
Many of the participants will realize significant changes that need to occur in their own activities and their expectations of their peers.
7. Guide the participants through a group discussion to identify the most important things that the individuals in their group or similar employees should do and consider for the survival of themselves, their families and communities.
8. Ask students to write a short success story to describe any realizations they have had about how they can improve things in their lives and the lives of others.
Congratulate them on a job well done.
Invite students to share their stories with the group, if they wish.
Certainly, there may be other effective methods for instilling or revitalizing ethics among government employees. But these simple steps are effective and workable.
Leading a group through this process will result in changes in attitude and develop a personal and group agreement on the right conduct for employees and officials whose responsibilities are important to the survival of communities.
I’d love to hear of your best experiences attempting to teach ethics to employees.
# # # End # # #