Clergy and Secular Interview
It is difficult to underestimate the extent to which the career choice influences the worldview of a person, as well as his/her understanding of ethics and morality. As a rule, the perspectives, from which a secular businessperson and a member of the clergy look at such things, vary. The businessperson tries to profit from everything and to achieve the best result in what he/she does. The member of the clergy, on the other hand, is guided by the Holy Bible and the laws of God. In the current essay, the answers from the interview of the businessman and the priest are compared and contrasted. Despite all evident differences and the fact that some businessman’s answers seemed to be the thoughts of the machine for making money, few points were quite similar to the ideas of the Christian priest.
In the first part of the interview, the respondents were asked to provide the definitions of the notions of moral, good, ethical, and effective in terms of getting the job done. The businessmen and the priest had much in common in their definitions, because the terms belong to the sphere of interpersonal relationships. Both men belong to one supposedly Christian culture, and despite the remarks of the businessman that he does not believe in God, his viewpoints are based on the common ideas of Christianity that form the background of the American society. The culture changes the ethical expectation at the workplace, because it shapes the basic principles and rules the person follows in his/her life.
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The businessman said that good, moral, and ethical characterized the actions or decisions that did not harm the person, whom they targeted. His moral and ethical codes were defined by the ideas common to all humankind, as he said. For example, to lie is immoral and to spy is unethical, while to help those, who are weak and have problems is good. A peculiar thing was that the businessman emphasized that every individual had his/her personal moral code and it was determined by not only common ideas about the inadmissibility of killing another person or having relationships with someone’s wife, but also personal considerations. He said that if the life circumstances of the person made him/her choose between supposedly good and supposedly evil, he/she could decide according to his/her personal experience.
The priest did not support the idea of individual good and evil, suggested by the businessman. According to the faithful Christian, the law of God cannot be adjusted to the reality of every person in the way it certainly fits it demanding no changes. He asserted that it was the human, who had to follow the common moral and ethical code, and to live according to it. Otherwise, there would be no more moral constrains that could define what was good and what was bad, and everyone would try to maintain and promote his/her truth. From this point of view, the ideas suggested by the priest are more effective in leadership, because they guarantee the order that will not be compromised at the whim of several egoists with the conflicting spheres of interest.
The reaction of the priest and the businessman to the second question is closely associated with their definitions of common and personal good, moral, and ethical codes. The question was what they would do if they caught an employee lying, but the lie benefited the church or the business. The priest was sure that he would not approve such actions of the person but rather would try to talk to that liar and explain to him/her that such sin was destroying his/her soul. According to the clergyman, the church does not need the sacrifices of immortal souls, and the notion of lies for good does not belong to the sphere of religious interests. The businessman, in a contrary, would praise his employee, who made his/her best to benefit the company, especially if such actions deserved certain uncommon efforts. As the businessman mentioned in the first question, the notion of effectiveness did not belong to the sphere of morality. It was nothing but a consequence of efforts, luck, and actions. However, the businessman also noted that he would investigate the work of the person who lied more precisely than he usually did. He explained this behavior with the idea that if the person lied once, he/she could do it for the second time, and it might not be for the benefit of his company.
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An interesting thing is that despite the position of the businessman, according to which every person has his/her personal moral and ethical codes that are prior to other rules in certain cases, his company has its own code of ethics to be followed by the employees. Such controversy is a vivid example of double morality and the conflict of interests. In the church, on the other hand, the ethical code is common for everyone, and such unanimity creates a peaceful atmosphere of certainty.
The answers to the question about the pressure the respondents might have ever felt when they compromised their interests and beliefs in order to get the job done were also quite similar. Both the businessman and the priest often did it. The businessman considered it to be an indispensable part of efficient work and of demonstrating the right example for other employees. The priest considered compromising his interests and beliefs a part of his ministry and the cross he had to bear. Both men thought that they compromised for the Idea, something that is beyond the everyday understanding. However, the idea of the businessman is quite prosaic and is in making more money and developing his company.
The businessman said in the interview that he had the right to investigate the personal life of the applicant, because it might affect the productivity of his/her future performance in the company. For example, if the future employee has a small child, which might be often ill, the applicant will be likely to take days off to take care of the kid or just distract from his/her tasks. None of the variants fit the businessman’s ethical code, in which his personal good and business is the priority. Nevertheless, the priest’s considerations on the privacy issue of the faithful is less egoistic. He can ask the person about his/her problems, but it does not mean that the person has to tell the priest everything. It is not made for any profit or benefit, but for the sake of providing possible help and advice.
The results of the interview have shown that the businessman and the priest share a common Christian culture, but this is the only similarity between their viewpoints. The ideas of the businessman about good and evil had been initially taken from the Bible, but then they mutated under the influence of business and the idea of making money. Benefit became the central notion for this person. It is possible to say that individualization of moral and ethical codes led the man to neglect the employee’s privacy, suspiciousness, and inner conflict of interests, which might have affected his surroundings too. The businessman is not a saint and does not seem to be even a good person. Nevertheless, his behavior and ideas are determined by his activity and lifestyle.
The moral and ethical code of the priest, just like his ideas about the good and evil, are dictated by religion. He supports the idea that people cannot violate the heavenly laws if there is no extreme need in it. In all cases, it is considered a sin. The priest does not violate other people’s privacy and tries to help those, who need his help or advice. The priest’s conduct is optimal for his profession and lifestyle. He has developed those traits of character that every priest needs for the work of curing the souls of other people.
The results of the interview made me think about my own position on the leadership style. I did not like the ideas the businessman was suggesting, but I understand his reasoning and aims. However, I rather support the stand of the priest, who said that morality and ethics are common for everyone. Otherwise, the conflicts of interests will appear. Even though business sometimes can be compared to the war, not all measures can be used to defeat the enemy.