Conclusion

83. In summary, this paper provides a general introduction to the fundamentals of the Defence Ethics Program. It addresses the specific issues and problems in defence ethics mainly from the philosophical, social-psychological, and organizational science points of view. The paper argues that the Defence Ethics Program is, and must be, responsive to the ethical needs of both the individual and the organization. The paper covers in detail the Statement of Defence Ethics and discusses the role that ethical principles and obligations can play in decision-making. It discusses the complexity of individual moral development and the effect of the institutional environment on defence ethics. Finally, it explains matrix of core ethics processes that must be integrated into a comprehensive whole and practised throughout the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence if Defence is to be a high-integrity organization.

84. The Defence Ethics Program is a normative and top-down value-based program for the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence. In creating and committing themselves to this program, the senior leadership of the defence organization fulfils an important part of its organizational responsibility. The Defence Ethics Program is build on the Statement of Defence Ethics as its foundation. By publicly stating that the ethical principles and obligations in the Statement of Defence Ethics are considered to be defining elements of the Canadian defence culture, the senior leadership is also stating that these principles and obligations should serve not only as guides for personal and institutional conduct but also as criteria by which that conduct should be judged.

85. The development and the implementation of the Defence Ethics Program has been consistent with the principles of organizational theory and of change management. It has taken special care to integrate the results of the research done on moral development in the social sciences. Thus, the work of Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, Martin L. Hoffman, T.M. Jones, and James R. Rest have served as important sources. Particular importance has been given to the writings of social scientists like Linda Klebe Trevino and Albert Bandura who place emphasis on the role of situational and work environment factors in moral development and behaviour.

86. The Defence Ethics Program has put in a place an Ethical Framework designed to foster an organization of high ethical integrity. A special emphasis has been placed on improving ethical decision-making skills at the individual and the collective level. It has considered it imperative that these skills be learned and practiced not only in the traditional classroom setting but in the workplace. As a result, the Defence Ethics Program focuses not only on revitalising an individual’s already acquired abilities to deal with ethics, but also on the doing ethics in a manner specifically related to the responsibilities that arise from the roles they occupy. Thus, it has strongly supported the virtues of open dialogue on ethics in the workplace and on the need for ethical risk management.

87. Finally, the Defence Ethics Program is based on the belief that the responsibility for defence ethics is a shared responsibility between the organization and the individual. It has been developed from the dual assumptions that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces are expected to be organizations of integrity and that the individuals that make them up should strive to be people of integrity. In this way, Defence can live up to the highest ethical standards that society has a right to expect of Defence because organizations and individuals with integrity consistently ensure that their actions meet these standards.

 

Prepared by :
Major Denis Beauchamp,
Program Management - Defence Ethics,
Defence Ethics Program, Chief of Review Services
NDHQ, Ottawa
January 2002 (Revised)

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