Do dogs have conflicts of interest?

 I don’t think so.  Consider the case of Clio (captured here contemplating her next caper).  Less than a year old, she already has compiled an impressive rap sheet  – with transgressions including aggravated chewing of her dad’s e-reader and several environmental misdemeanors.

But conflicts of interest isn’t among them, nor, I imagine, is it in any dog’s inventory of compliance risks. Dogs are,  of course, intensely loyal, a trait so deep seated that it must have its origins in the evolution of the species  – whether due to wolves hunting in packs, their getting humans to trust (and therefore feed) them, both or something else.   While a dog’s “compliance training” should cover many topics, there’s no need to include the duty of loyalty.  Nature already has that covered.

Humans also have deep-seated moral qualities that are based in evolution – as described in Jonathan Haidt’s landmark work The Righteous Mind, and loyalty is indeed among them.  But it is not alone, as  care, fairness, authority, sanctity and liberty can also be considered core values of humankind. Together with loyalty, over the course of history, they have played an important role in our species prospering.

This list of values covers a lot of ground, of course – and creates grounds for tensions between these various moral instincts. The Righteous Mind explores the political ramifications of these tensions (and does so brilliantly, in my view). But there is more that can be done with Haidt’s insights into how we are morally wired.

Among other things, C&E professionals should attempt to build on this knowledge to explore the various ways that the core values of humankind can both support and impair the promotion of ethical and law abiding conduct in businesses.  That effort could lead – among other things –  to a richer, more effective approach to C&E training and communications than is presently used in many organizations.  Just as corporate culture runs deeper than do corporate policies, so this aspect of morality may be at the deepest level of all.

(Sorry about the duplicate image – a lot of Word Press users seem to be struggling with this problem, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.)

 

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