Ethical Communication in Small Groups
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ETHICAL COMMUNICATION IN SMALL GROUPS
Generally in small group work our concern is focused on getting the job done while still maintaining reasonable relationships among group members. Although ethical communication is implicit in small group work, we seldom discuss it openly. Ethics in small groups involves three levels: - Individual group member "I didn't complete the research on time for my part of the project. Should I think up an excuse? Or tell my group what happened: that I went to Las Vegas for the weekend instead of doing my research?" - Group Group A finds a published study that is identical to its project. Group members are pressed for time to complete their report. Should they just copy the study, making a few minor changes? - Group environment An organizational task force on safety identifies several current practices that put organization members at risk. Changing all those practices will cost the organization millions of dollars. Should the task force report all the findings to management? Report only those that would be less costly? Although some ethical dilemmas are more easily solved than others, all involve making evaluations and judgments about what is morally right and wrong, what is fair and what is not fair, and what will cause harm and what will not cause harm. What is Ethical Communication? Ethics in small groups refers to the moral aspects of group interaction. The National Communication Association (NCA) states: "ethical communication enhances human worth and dignity by fostering truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and other." Thus, ethical communication in small groups takes into account caring and responsibility for oneself and the other group members. Ethics in Communication NCA recently adopted a Credo for Ethical Communication. It is included here,...