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Workplace Injustices and Transgressions, Ethics of the Heart and Mind

Workplace Injustices and Transgressions, Ethics of the Heart and Mind

Procedural, Distributive, or Both

The workplace is a source of numerous transgressions that can be due to power abuses by supervisors, disagreements between co-workers, and corporate decisions that impact pay, downsizing, or promotion, among others. Workplaces also breed a culture of competition where employees compete for success, resources, and attention. Transgressions done by the business affect shareholders and customers. These can be both distributive and procedural. For example, when a business falsifies its annual financial report and proceeds to give its shareholders lesser dividends than they ought to receive, and customers are offered goods that are wrongly priced to exploit them. Transgressions toward employees, such as negative evaluations by supervisors, are procedural injustices. Awarding unfair perks to undeserving employees is a form of unfairness and is a distributive injustice.

Ethics of the Heart and Mind

Ethics of the mind refers to the ethical discourse that is the theorizing of dilemmas philosophically, and rationally analyzing the consequentialist and deontological ethical principles when a person faces a difficult situation. Ethics of the mind application depends on recognizing that the case at hand needs an ethical decision to be made, the principles that can be applied, and choosing the right principle to apply where there are competing principles. Ethics of the heart are brought about by the habits one learns from observing others in the community that one lives in. Ethics of the heart involves emotional and interpersonal insensitivity, though not completely detached from the principles. If I was a supervisor, I would feel more inclined to use ethics of the mind.

Ethics of the mind may be used when decisional forgiveness is made following ethical reasoning used in judging and also rational analysis of acts to determine whether the events are just or fair. Ethics of the heart often come into play when a transgression is personal in nature, and a person responds by applying principle-driven and rational analysis of a situation. Ethics of the heart are used in dealing with the community of coworkers in a loving, compassionate, sympathetic, and empathetic manner.


Worthington Jr, E. L. (2013). A just forgiveness: Responsible healing without excusing injustice.

InterVarsity Press.


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Workplace Injustices and Transgressions

Workplace Injustices and Transgressions

1. Read Chapter 8
2. What are some of the injustices or transgressions that take place in the workplace? Explain if they are in the area of procedural, distributive, or both types of justice.
3. Explain the ethics of the heart and ethics of the mind and the difference between them. Which one do you feel more inclined to practice if you were a supervisor?
4. When should one ethic (Q3) be used vs. the other?

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