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By Fitzgerald, Laurie A.; Eijnatten, Frans M. van

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Whether the bounds of their reference group encircle their family, their race, religion or gender, or their nation, their perception of the world remains fragmented: rather than the me/you split, the us/them schism comes into being. Witness the deadly feud of the Hatfields and the McCoys in the hills of Kentucky (familial-centricity), the horror of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans (ethnocentricity), or even the ‘‘war on Ethics in organizations 375 JOCM 15,4 376 terrorism’’ which has proceeded on the assertion of the US president that ‘‘either you’re with us or you’re against us’’ (nationalism).

Because the great majority of managers and practitioners operate from a reductionist perspective, their tendency is to focus exclusively on ‘‘parts’’. Consequently, the system’s dynamical core of human interaction is neglected. The fact is that any technique that encourages self-centered and self-preserving behavior is an antithesis to the creation of sustainable enterprise. In effect, the ESP emerging from the milieu of narcissism is the sin qua non of barriers to attaining and sustaining optimal organizational performance.

In contrast, those who have attained the post-conventional stage are characterized by behaviors that can be evaluated according to normative standards based on principles. Accordingly, in order for an ethic of a higher order to be inculcated in the context of the organization, the principle(s) underlying it must first be acknowledged, grasped and integrated into the thinking of a critical mass of participants in the enterprise. In this respect, one would have to search far and wide to find a more apt ideology than that articulated in the Chaos precept of connectivity.

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