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									Leadership, Ethics and Weather Forecasting

NEMAC’s “Chocolate Friday” Presentation
February 17, 2006
Leadership Defined

     “Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders
    and their collaborators who intend real changes that
    reflect their mutual purposes.” (Rost, 1993)
    “A leader is defined as any person who influences
    individuals and groups within an organization, helps them
    in the establishment of goals and guides them towards
    the achievement of these goals…” (Nahavandi, 2003)
     “A relational process of people together attempting
    to accomplish change or make a difference to benefit
    the common good.” (Komives, Lucas and McMahon,
Leadership Studies

     Communication
     Ethics
     Psychology I: Intelligence and Personality
     Psychology II: Motivation
     Global and Multicultural
     Political Science: Power and Influence
     Philosophy and Classics
     Sociology and Anthropology
     Physics
     Environmental Sciences
     Biology
Leadership’s Essential Components

     Ethical Decision Making
     Understanding our Multicultural Society
Ethics Defined

     The study of moral obligations or of separating right
    from wrong.
     Ethics can also be a plural noun meaning the accepted
    guidelines of behavior for groups or institutions. In this
    sense, it means much the same as morals, which are an
    individuals determination of what is right from wrong;
    morals are influenced by a person’s values. Ethics
    becomes the vehicle for converting values into action.
     A leader should do the right thing, as perceived by
    a consensus of reasonable people.
Right Versus Right Paradigm Dilemmas

     Truth versus loyalty
     Individual versus community
     Short-term versus long-term
     Justice versus mercy
Right vs. Right Resolution Theories

    Most Useful Philosophical Theories:
    The Utilitarian Approach (Ends-based thinking)
     The Rights Approach (Rules-based thinking)
     The Golden Rule Approach (Care-based thinking)
Sample Fact Pattern

    You’re eating an ice cream cone at a shopping center
    and you’ve nearly finished except for the unappealing
    bottom of the cone. If you hold it much longer, the
    melted ice cream will begin running down your hand and
    along your arm. There’s not a trash container to be
    seen. There is, however, a low hedge beside you, under
    which are lodged a few bits of trash. You consider
    throwing the cone into the hedge – but not until (being in
    an unusually philosophical mood) you ask yourself what
    the three resolution principles would counsel you to do.
Application of Theories

    Ends-based Thinking
    A quick assessment of consequences suggests that (1)
    the shopping center probably employs sweepers to clean
    up the trash, and (2) the hedge is probably visited
    regularly by squirrels, birds, and ants. Your little piece of
    cone will hardly make any difference to the hedge or to
    the general neatness of the center: It will, in other words,
    be a largely inconsequential act.
    Decision: Throw it away.
Application of Theories

    Rules-based Thinking
    You are setting the standard for the entire world. Throw
    it in the hedge, and you must be prepared to have
    everyone, from now to eternity, throw away the bottom of
    their ice cream cones under hedges, until shoppers all
    across the world are up to their eyeballs in soggy cone
    Decision: Do not throw it away.
Application of Theories

    Care-based Thinking
    How do you want others to behave? Don’t do what you
    don’t want others doing. How would you react if that
    woman ahead of you flipped her cone into the hedge?
    What about the child behind you who sees you? Don’t
    you want other adults to set good examples for your
    children, even in situations where an action that might be
    construed as a bad example is probably pardonable and
    might even be justified?
    Decision: Do not throw it away.
Weather Forecasts and Public Warnings

    Dilemma Paradigm
    Truth versus loyalty
    Individual versus community?
    Short-term versus long-term
    Justice versus mercy
Forecast Limitations

    0 to 12 hours?
    12 to 24 hours?
    24 to 48 hours?
    Less than one week?
    Greater than one week?
    Specific areas?
    Amount of precipitation?
    Strength of winds?
Threshold Leadership Questions

    How should leaders make a decision under uncertainty
    when an error might harm someone?
    How should leaders communicate about this uncertainty
    and risk to citizens?
    How should society respond to the problem of scientific
    uncertainty, as well as to the tensions raised as money
    and lawsuits challenge efforts to incorporate more
    evidence into regular forecasts?
Application of Theories to Public Warning

    Ends-based Thinking
    A quick assessment of consequences suggests that (1)
    we cannot predict with enough specificity to be helpful,
    and (2) people have grown immune to these warnings
    because of prior inaccuracies, and (3) any warning will
    create some human injury due to anxiety and efforts to
    leave the area, and (4) the warning will have an adverse
    impact on business, and (5) civic leaders get angry about
    having to make these decisions based on such
    Decision: Wait as long as possible
Application of Theories to Public Warning

    Rule-based Thinking
    We have a standard policy of alerting decision makers x
    number of days in advance. We don’t speak specifically
    about the threat until y days in advance. We use
    numerous computer models to track a storms direction.
    We don’t declare a state of emergency until after the
    storm hits. These procedures provide consistency of
    Decision: We will give information and warnings on
    specified timetables and based on predetermined events.
Application of Theories to Public Warning

    Care-based Thinking
    We will tell the public everything we know about how the
    storm will affect them without generating unnecessary
    anxiety and fear. We will give you specific information on
    the nature of the warning and its meaning. The warning
    will be focused in terms of time, location, possible
    outcome, and will be accompanied by practical
    instructions as to how the public should react.
    Decision: Tell the public what we know, when we know it,
    if we can also tell them what it means to them.
Review of Public Warnings?

     What is common practice today? How has it changed?
     What was done for Katrina?
     Do you see reliance on one particular philosophical
     Are we forthcoming in providing more information as
    scientific breakthroughs allow?
Similar Situations?

      Terror Alerts
      Bird Flu
      Hazardous Material Disposal
      Air Quality
      Asteroids
      Global Warming
Attitudes & Behaviors Towards Disaster

     67% said “very important” to take steps to prepare for a
    catastrophic disaster such as a hurricane.
     Only 22% have taken the initiative to receive specific
    information or to train on disaster preparedness and feel
    prepared for a catastrophic disaster.
     Approximately 50% don’t have information about
    emergency plans at work or their children’s schools.
     Most Americans believe being prepared for all types of
    disasters strengthens our national security.
     Most Americans said they would get prepared if it were
    made easy.
    Prepared for the American Red Cross by Wirthlin Worldwide, July 2004.
The Bottom Line
     These are very tough choices--right versus right.
     We cannot duck them--we must face them.
     Once we face them--we must resolve them.
     Beyond getting it resolved--we must get it right.
     In getting it right, we must have the courage to stand up
    to the tough choices.
     There are no magic answer systems--moral
    principles won’t provide for precise decision making.
     Making ethical decisions depends on judgment,
    character, moral awareness, perception, discrimination,
    just to name just a few.
     But, the above three principles can help to guide your
    task of conscious reflection on moral choice.
Leadership, Ethics and Weather Forecasting

               Thank you!

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