What Happens to Ethics in an Immature Society?

What Happens to Ethics in an Immature Society?

Some people believe they create their own #destiny - others believe the hands of fate control them. The same is true for organizations and communities. That second perspective leaves people frustrated and angry, feeling out of control and powerless. They freeze midway on the road to #maturity. The results show in big and small lapses in ethics. One reason we're seeing so many problems in the business world now is that as a society, we've lost our sense of ethics.

People who have stopped maturing and are stagnating at any given point of development may:

  • #constantly try to protect themselves against #punishment, obeying rules only to make themselves feel secure
  • exercise black and white thinking, seeing people as either 'with them or against them'
  • feel little sense of control over their lives
  • aim for acceptance and approval by conforming

Abraham Maslow speaks of a continuum of needs people have to satisfy before they can reach full maturity, which he calls self-actualization. In order, these needs are:

  • physical survival
  • security
  • acceptance
  • achievement
  • self-realization

Each of these needs presents a challenge a person has to satisfy before they move on to a higher level of development. If they don't succeed, they get stuck in a continual behavior loop at that level, and they don't mature any further.

Immaturity leads to all kinds of problems, both for individual people and society as a whole. One of the first signs of this #immaturity in a society is the existence of power hierarchies. Power hierarchies spur a complex host of problems, including: de-motivation, loss of health, low productivity, fiscal losses, bankruptcies and the manipulation of many for the benefit of a few.

Hierarchical values suggest that developmental immaturity is unavoidable: there are the rich and there are the poor, there are the employers and there are the employees, and these lines never change or blur. Not only companies support this theory, but entire societies: man has defined global regions as 'haves and have-nots.'

We see examples of this on a daily basis in the news. We hear about CEOs who make extravagant luxury purchases or receive a 'golden parachute' in spite of the fact that their company is bankrupt. In politics, we see leaders rising to power suddenly, leaving social turmoil in their wake. We see more extreme examples as militant extremists plot and carry out crimes against humanity.

Those who fall behind and stay stuck in a lower #stage of maturing will remain helpless against the tidal waves of destruction in the modern world. So much of this could be avoided if leaders in business, politics, education, and local communities would commit themselves to helping the people they influence to grow and mature, to move forward in self-development. It's not enough to sit and think about the problem, to wonder what could be done to help people become more ethical.

There are so many personal development and training opportunities available, especially in the business world. Providing this sort of ethical consciousness training for employees isn't just a matter of helping everyone to get along and be nice - it's an investment that pays enormous dividends that benefit everyone.

Those who work towards the goal of self-realization for themselves and for those around them will mature. Those who mature will create a healthy new paradigm for business and society, and will ultimately thrive in the future.

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Author: Regular Articles
Victor Pinedo, Jr. is President of Corporate Transitions International. A consultant in organizational change since 1969, he invented Organizational Architecture, an organizational transformation program that is unique in its long-term effectiveness. Organizational Architecture is in use today by corporations around the world. Mr. Pinedo is the author of the best selling book on Organizational Architecture, Tsunami: Constructing organizations that are able to prosper in tidal waves. For more information, visit: http://www.ctiarch.com/
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