Three Dimensional Ethics: Implementing Workplace Values

by Attracta Legan and Brian Moran
ISBN:0-9757422-3-X, Publisher: E Content Management, 2006

Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*


This book is deceptive! It looks small and lightweight and the tone is wonderfully clear and easy to assimilate but the content is deep and wide ranging. At the end of this book the reader will have covered ethical thinking from its earliest applications to the business environment right up to the present day.

Attracta’s commitment and engaging way of dealing with her topic are apparent throughout the book which is a relief as other books on the topic can tend towards self importance and rhetoric. This book is refreshing, from John Elkington’s wonderful foreword to the call to action in the final sentence.

Each chapter contains case studies drawn from real life situations and analysed clearly to illustrate how the principles can be applied to the real world that we live and do business in. Common phrases are used to ensure that meaning, once developed, is remembered. The book then revisits and reuses these phrases so that the learnings are reinforced.

The structure allows for personal reflection to consolidate and validate the key messages. Each section contains various ‘dilemmas’ that invite the reader to think about the topic and place it into a personal frame of reference. I first read the book seated in my office. I then decided to take it on some plane trips and found that the reflections were a great way to get value from the time otherwise wasted in queues. Because the book is written in small chunks it is easy to pick up the thread after interruptions and the fine paper and small size make it easily pocketable for any traveller.

Covering ethics from boardroom to shopfloor is no easy task; to do so in a historical context without becoming over long or over complicated is a feat only accomplished by an expert. The personal knowledge and practical experience of the authors illuminates and lifts the prose out of the mundane. It also makes the key actions for implementation seem clear and enticing (especially in the context of the disaster stories about those that failed to implement). Whilst I know from bitter experience that culture, values and ethics are not built in a day and are not something I can bring with me from one company to another this book is a useful ally whenever I do make the attempt. It is a source of consolation when my attempts don’t succeed as I had hoped and a frequently returned to source of reference that helps me to stay on track and separate the acceptable deviations from the unacceptable.

I wish every deceptive book I had ever read had pleased me as much as this little book has. Get yourself a copy and prepare to be surprised by what you learn and by what you can do when you have learnt!

Julie Garland McLellan to judge 2011 Global eBook Awards