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|Monday, May 01, 2006|
By Brandon Sawyer
In the wake of heavily publicized fraud trials for a series of former Enron executives, the 29,000 Oregon employees who answered this year’s Oregon Business’ 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey remain confident in the ethical leadership of their companies.
At EthicsPoint of Portland, the No. 45 best small company, employees were similarly proud of the ethical foundation. “We are selling a service,” wrote one, “that creates ethical value in a world of mistrust. We collectively believe we are contributing to a better world.” The service is EthicsPoint’s confidential and anonymous hotline and secure Web form allowing clients’ employees to report any misdeeds they have witnessed.
Most of Providence’s employees know its core values by heart, says Elizabeth McCabe, the regional director of mission integration. That mission, to continue the healing ministry of Jesus with special concern for the poor and vulnerable, hasn’t changed since it was founded in the Northwest by Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart and other Sisters of Providence in the 1850s.
On the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center campus, the Providence Center for Health Care Ethics regularly wrestles with challenging technological and end-of-life issues just as front-line employees, in caring for patients, are regularly forced to make ethical considerations. McCabe says there’s bound to be ethical spillover from the medical realm into business and management.
Most questions can be solved informally among staff, but if a problem is tricky enough it requires a “formal ethical discernment.” Any employee can call for one of these, but generally a mission director will guide it. Each Providence acute care site has its own full-time mission director. They have three responsibilities: being a “fire-keeper” for the sponsoring religious order (Sisters of Providence); orchestrating community benefits and social responsibility; and guiding ethical processes.
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