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THE RELEVANCE OF TAKING AN OATH: Let's recognise those who do right visibly

25 November 2020 12:27 PM
Tags:
Oath of office
lying under oath
Constitutional oath

Ethics Institute senior research specialist Paul Vorster says when we discuss honour code we always refer to those who do wrong.

Do you think people still respect and think about the oaths they take before taking up a position? Are oaths seen as binding pledges in our society?

Oaths are a public pledge that people take to promise that they will perform some action or duty, generally with the promise of doing so truthfully but how many of our office-bearers take their oaths seriously?

Clement Manyathela speaks to Dr Paul Vorster, senior research specialist at the Ethics Institute

The convictions, the values, the code of ethics and the code of conduct often indicate how employees or people within organisations should operate, what is acceptable behaviour and what they should strive for in terms of the mandate of an organisation.

Dr Paul Vorster, Senior research specialist - Ethics Institute

The honour code does work. The question we need to ask as researchers is: How do we remind people of the honour code? Humans forget and we tend not to remember these things, other things become a priority. There is a short-term period when the honour code works. We need to remind people about this and what it really means. The language often of these honour codes is somewhat convoluted, ambiguous, broad, some people may not understand what that means for them. How do we as leaders translate those values into real behaviours that people can understand and then make them sign a contract which is like an oath that says I adhere to this particular conduct requirement in your organisation.

Dr Paul Vorster, Senior research specialist - Ethics Institute

There is a very social component to being ethical or unethical in an organisation. If I see someone cheating in a group and getting away with it then why don't I cheat as well? The positive side is that we can use the same social weaknesses to build ethical culture in organisations by using them correctly. We always talk about those who do wrong but do we also catch who do right and recognise these people visibly.

Dr Paul Vorster, Senior research specialist - Ethics Institute

Listen below for the full interview...




25 November 2020 12:27 PM
Tags:
Oath of office
lying under oath
Constitutional oath

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