The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business


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Audience members nitpicked. On Twitter, the critiques were far more barbed. If you know what that is, that explains everything. In the lobby, I chatted with Tom Coates, a co-founder of an A. After the piece about Esalen ran in the Times , a new C. They facilitated meetings between American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, and between agents of the C.

Most of these meetings were conducted in secret; many involved nature walks and cross-cultural soaks in the hot springs. He met with President George H. Not even Mr. My past lives and my wild eros seemed like things that I could explore on my own time. I made a halfhearted attempt at subterfuge, packing a few items of clothing that were not black or gray and taking care not to bring along any New Yorker -branded tote bags.

We sat in a circle in a large dome-shaped tent. Outside was the ocean, invisible but shockingly loud. Dean led a five-minute meditation. Poswolsky proposed a few ground rules for the weekend. The main rule sorry, agreement was, of course, a phone ban. People adopted nicknames for the weekend: Down, Penultimate, Emo Biscotti. We returned to the lodge for dinner—college-co-op-style pad Thai, an artisanal peanut-butter-and-jelly station, and a condiment table featuring several varieties of nutritional yeast.


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After dinner, most of the group proceeded toward the hot tubs. I did, too, navigating by following the sulfur smell. Zev would organize a face-painting playshop. Ian would lead a hike to a waterfall.

Ethical theories kept simple!

Ramesh Srinivasan, a U. A dozen people sat in dappled sunlight, and Poswolsky passed out blank sheets of paper. Sometimes we feel lonely and scared! I personally find it annoying—the yoga babes doing backbends on the beach—but it keeps people coming to the classes. Poswolsky mirrored these concerns, using gentle, empathetic language. Anytime the discussion veered toward politics, someone would change the subject. Once, Poswolsky mentioned Donald Trump , and several people visibly winced. Throughout the weekend, systemic analysis was discouraged in favor of self-care. Many participants reported that news notifications on their phones made them feel panicked or overwhelmed; their response, in almost every case, had been to stop reading the news.

Remaining engaged in public life, and trying to change it, is the work of true democratic citizenship. At Digital Detox, discussing this work was just another kind of W-talk. At the end of Digital Detox, shortly before I drove to the nearest In-N-Out parking lot to catch up on my e-mail, I spent a few minutes with some of the facilitators and participants. We sat outside, on a wooden bench overlooking a hallucinogenically gorgeous landscape. At one point, a school of whales started breaching in the water. But if those people had an experience like this, in this place? That would make it a hell of a lot more likely.

As it turns out, some of the most powerful people in tech have had similar experiences. On the first October weekend of , Tristan Harris and Ben Tauber facilitated a workshop at Esalen that was not announced to the public. Tauber and Harris implored me, in a series of tense phone calls, not to mention the retreat, which had been convened with an expectation of confidentiality. But several other attendees were willing to discuss it.

We journaled. No ayahuasca or Illuminati rituals or anything. But it was becoming harder to believe that assumption in light of recent phenomena—for example, the campaign of Donald Trump, who was then losing in most national polls but winning in most metrics of social-media engagement. Eight months later, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was changing its mission.

The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business

A few hours after the talk at SFJAZZ, a select group of attendees was invited to a private dinner at Taohaus, a former town house that is now an event venue. The guests trickled into the parlor, gazing out the window at the receding evening light. Harris stepped to the front of the room and clinked a wineglass. At dinner, Harris was beset by constructive criticism.


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  4. In another room, about a dozen people entangled themselves in what they called an amoeba hug. One of them, a long-haired young man, wore wooden amulets around his neck, which clinked together like wind chimes as he walked. You could join a company, you could co-live, but what does it mean to combine these vectors?

    Earlier this year, Harris was interviewed by Kara Swisher, the gadfly journalist and frenemy of the tech industry, who asked him to explain what C. Late last year, Dorsey went on a silent ten-day meditation retreat in Myanmar. When he got back, he posted a Twitter thread about his experience, including photos of his spartan living quarters, his mosquito bites, and biometric readings from his Apple Watch and Oura ring. The thread seemed to incite disdain from just about everyone: human-rights advocates, chronic-pain sufferers, many members of the general public.

    The risk is that meditation can be misused as a numbing agent—a way of making yourself more productive at the thing that is causing the world pain. The researchers were asked to write down their intentions—what kind of world did they hope to bring about? The ethical tech movement is growing increasingly difficult to ignore.

    Process of Revision

    Big Tech may need regulation, but treating it as if it were any other industry underestimates the depth of the problem. Unlike many other executives, tech executives actually believed their Utopian hype. Now that their innovations have failed to bring about Utopia, they are experiencing a range of conflicting emotions. Someone has to help them translate those emotions into responsible actions.

    Tallies of likes are precisely the kind of gamification techniques that social-media platforms use to get consumers hooked. It might decrease user engagement, or time on site, or revenue, at least in the short term. Take One! He showed up at dusk, wearing a cowboy hat and a smart ring. Position: a firmly held Association stance or point of view. Positions of the Association direct subsequent decisions on similar matters of both the Association and its members. Association administrative directives Policy: Association directives defining operational and administrative activities.

    The EJC is charged with proposing revisions of the ethical principles and standards of the Association, interpreting the ethical principles and standards, and making revisions, as necessary, to the documents that interpret the ethical principles and standards of the Association. Beginning in and concluding in , the EJC conducted a thorough and systematic review of these core ethics documents, as well as the ethical codes of other health care professions, to see how such codes compared with APTA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant in content and arrangement.

    In March , the BOD appointed an member task force that included physical therapy leaders and emerging leaders, clinicians, educators, regulators, consumers, a project manager, a DPT student representative, and a non—physical therapist ethics consultant. The task force members generated more than ethical issues addressing all aspects of physical therapist practice, reimbursement, policy, technology, and professional relationships.

    The revised documents should set forth principles for the ethical practice of physical therapy that address the multitude of physical therapist and physical therapist assistant practice settings and roles applicable to individual, organizational, and societal realms. The revised documents should be fully congruent with the relevant elements of APTA's Vision and a doctoring profession. The documents should include both foundational principles as well as interpretive guidelines as to the intent, meaning, and application of ethical behaviors. As indicated in Table 2 , the draft documents of the task force were reviewed, refined, and edited by a subgroup of the full task force.

    The resulting draft documents ultimately were reviewed and edited by all members of the task force and the members of the EJC prior to submission of an Interim Report to the BOD in March Following approval of the draft documents for distribution and comment, APTA's Department of Research, working in collaboration with the task force leadership, developed surveys for soliciting feedback from professional and targeted public stakeholders.

    The surveys were designed around a Likert scale whereby respondents could indicate their level of agreement regarding the clarity and need for inclusion of the preambles, principles and standards, and interpretive guidelines of the proposed revisions. In addition, there were areas for open comment in each section that encouraged submission of suggested revisions, additions, or deletions.

    A final question asked whether the revised Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant represented an improvement in articulating the ethical standards for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants compared with the current versions Tab. Included in this first group were APTA component chapters and sections presidents and executive personnel; EJC members; chapter ethics committee chairpersons; the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy targeting state physical therapy licensing board members and executive directors ; APTA panels, committees, and liaisons to other groups; academic administrators; certified specialists; APTA BOD; and physical therapist staff members.

    Data from the 2 survey phases were aggregated without identification or differentiation of the source of individual responses or comments.

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    As indicated in Table 4 , a total of 1, responses were received addressing the proposed revisions. Figures represent the mean or standard deviation of responses to all Likert items clarity and inclusion for the preamble, principles, standards, interpretive guidelines, and overall reaction to the Code of Ethics Likert items and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant Likert items. Table 4 summarizes the results of the survey for each of the documents. The task force co-chairs, in collaboration with the staff project manager, met on December 12 and 13, , to analyze the aggregated descriptive data and comments from both phases of the survey.

    Because the data were not identified by source, comments of each group were given equal weight. Each principle and standard was examined to determine whether the preponderance of feedback indicated the need for editing, rewriting, or deletion. The goal of the task force co-chairs was to produce a document that was consistent with the general themes of the majority of survey comments. A number of the comments reflected concerns about the overall length of the draft documents, the number of interpretive guidelines, and perceived redundancies within the documents.

    The edited drafts and a comprehensive summary of actions were distributed to the entire task force in January for final review and comment. A proviso was added to both documents so that the amended Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant , if adopted, would not take effect until July 1, , to allow for education of the profession concerning the significant changes encompassed in the revised ethics documents.

    The debate and adoption of the revised Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant during the HOD meeting spanned 2 days, during which the entire representative body engaged in meaningful and substantive analysis of the current and future moral foundations of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants within the context of a changing health care environment.

    The co-chairs of the task force and the chair of the EJC were present during the HOD meeting to address questions about the revision process, clarify content of the documents, and consult with delegates regarding ethical implications. A description of the depth and breadth of debate is beyond the scope of this article, but the debate included discussions about personal biases and discrimination, patient empowerment and collaboration, exploitation of all individuals over whom physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have influence, personal boundaries, impaired colleagues, reimbursement for services, and advocacy for health care services.

    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
    The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business

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