Blog Post

Is it ethical? Are you manipulating?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 11 October 2008



Is it ethical? Are you manipulating?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 100
Posted DateSaturday 11 October 2008 11:55 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.anecdote.com.au/archives/2008/10/in_storytelling. ... 

When I run my knowledge sharing workshops - one of the sessions is about networking and more often than not the question of ethics is raised. Some people falsely see networking as unethical as they seem to think that networking is about making friends with other people for personal gain - they don't quite understand that although its possible to behave like that - genuine networkers approach networking with a mindset of "mutual advantage" - they as much want to help the other person as they wish for help from them.

The question of ethics also gets raised in other KM settings. Storytelling is one of them. Is it ethical to use storytelling to say sell an idea to another person? Another might be is it OK to reward people with tangible rewards such as money or intangible rewards such as praise to get them to do what you want.

It seems to me that we all have agendas; we all have the need, for good or for bad, to influence people; to get their buy-in on an idea or to obtain budget or resource from them. If we wish to get things done in life then we need to be good at gaining the support we need.

But is persuasion or influence, inherently manipulative and unethical? Well of course not; so much depends on the intent. `But what is the yardstick? How do you question yourself to determine if you are being unethical or not?

The test in this blog post seems a good stating point: “Would it lose its power if people knew exactly what you were doing and why?”

Take a look at the post and the comments. What do you think?

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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