A Sense of Moral Identity

Kenneth Rice

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A crucial point for an examination of the origin of human values is the nature of man. Just as there are certain common non-moral universals, such as the need for food, warmth, shelter, security – similarly, there are moral universals – that is, moral principles accepted wherever and whenever men seek to codify socially acceptable behavior, or even when they do not, since such principles can be implicit in social practice without being overtly verbalized. Moral universals are not always in an obvious sense biologically based. However, these moral rules are related, more or less intimately, to the biological interests of those who adopt them. From the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes, the bible identifies values that are not solely restricted to Christians but should embody a way of living for Christian Leaders. “The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, ’ ‘Do not murder, ’ ‘Do not steal, ’ ‘Do not covet, ’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. ” (Romans 13:9-10).

Leaders spend a great deal of time drafting and proofing vision statements, mission statements, values statements, purpose statements, and goal statements. They spend nowhere near enough time trying to align the organizations with their values. According to Scheler there is an essential difference between the enunciation of a wish or desire with intention of directing the will of another and the communication of a value-judgment or even the mere allusion to a present value, no matter how much this difference is hidden behind the double meaning of ‘you ought to’. ”(Scheler, 1973, p. 174).

We comprehend many moral traits of men by means of communication. The first issue leaders must address is the process that enables followers to understand and relate to organizational values. Doing this means looking around the organization, talking to people, and getting feedback. Scheler, Max (1973). Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values: A New Attempt toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism. Translated by Manfred Frings and Roger Funk. Chicago, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Holy Bible. (1997). King James Version. Grand Raids, MI:Zondervan Publishing.

Joas, H. (2000). The Genesis of Values. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago.

Lieutenant Ken Rice is an Active Duty Naval Officer stationed in Norfolk VA. He is currently assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force's Warfare Requirments Directorate as the FORCEnet Requirements Officer. Lieutenant Rice is responsible for the program analasys and budget oversight for Information Technology Transformation for the Surface Fleet. He is currently enrolled at Regent University working towards a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership.


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