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Posted by:
Jodi O'Callaghan

The ethics of speaking up

It can be a tricky space finding yourself wanting to push back against those in a higher position than you, and can take great moral courage to speak up.  

Senior management has an idea that you think is really bad, but you have to be the face of that idea and deliver the message to the business. You know it is contrary to evidence and best practice. 

What would you do?

We encourage you to post your answers in the comments so we can create a healthy discussion, with the aim of learning from our peers, becoming aware of differing perspectives and challenging our own biases. 

Please share your ethical dilemmas with us - we can post them anonymously. You can email your dilemmas to dilemma@thebfo.org

Photo by Justin Veenema via Unsplash


Elizabeth Sheedy on Sunday, 29 Sep 2019
Just because you’ve identified an issue with a moral component doesn’t mean that you need to get up on your soap-box and start preaching. Asking questions and listening is likely to be more productive than accusing. Questions like these may be useful - ‘have we considered the consequences of... x?’ or ‘why is this practice used when it seems like it might be working badly for our customers?’ . Role playing with a trusted peer or mentor is a really useful tool to prepare yourself for potentially difficult conversations. Try to predict the justifications that might come up and how you might counter them.
Ruth Dean on Thursday, 19 Sep 2019
Doing the right thing, operating honestly and with high integrity is not defined by job titles. I personally feel that arming your ideas and delivery with solid facts along with conviction is the best approach. Standing up for what is right should always be one of the core values personally and professionally.
Tim on Thursday, 19 Sep 2019
The last time I spoke up in that way, my manager had to deal with the changes/issue which wasn't her job. I think she may have resented it because it was just another thing on her endless list.
Jane on Thursday, 19 Sep 2019
One would like to think you could speak up but sadly I don't think that's the case. I don't think it's because of my moral courage ( or lack of it) but more the moral courage of my manager. Have they been set unrealistic targets and been unable to speak up about it?
Vidura on Thursday, 19 Sep 2019
In this case, I will see if the senior management is easily approachable? If not I will speak to my immediate supervisor about it and try to explain my thoughts regarding the decision of senior management.

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