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Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right Hardcover – September 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875848036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875848037
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This solid, penetrating work, obviously deeply felt by the author, is likely to be well received by boomer managers. --Library Journal

"The book is well-crafted, readable and interactive. --USA Today -- USA Today

From the Back Cover

"So much of making sound decisions comes from asking smart questions. Defining Moments asks all the right questions in a way that will help any manager who wants to reach judgments that are morally sensitive and professionally sensible." --George Stephanopoulos, Visiting Professor at Columbia University, political analyst for ABC, and former adviser to the Clinton Administration

Defining Moments outlines a refreshingly realistic approach to ethics in management. Badaracco shows how managers can choose, without sacrificing their values, between multiple acceptable solutions--not the one right answer that most ethicists claim exists. It is a book to be put into practice, not just read and set aside. --Andrall Pearson, Chairman & CEO, Pepsico Food Division

Critical decisions between shades of right are inescapable in our professional and personal lives and do create defining moments' for each of us. Badracco brings a clarity to the decision process that I did not think possible. --Gail Long, Senior Vice President, Group Executive, Large Corporate, BankBoston

Finally, here's a book that helps us prioritize our personal and institutional loyalties and responsibilities in decision making, wend our way through real-life moral mazes, and develop our character in the process. A crystal-clear, practical writer, Badaracco provides a new and unorthodox approach to issues of great complexity. He offers pragmatic assistance to real people weighing conflicting duties, ends, and virtues of business life. --William McLennan, University Chaplain, Tufts University


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Customer Reviews

It was an easy read with a very clear message.
Amazon Customer
One of the great challenges facing new managers is decision making where the choices all involve some positive and negative aspects.
Kris Tuttle
It is a good book to read for managers or manager to-be!
Life_is_a_Choice

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rita Risser on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As an attorney who teaches business ethics inside corporations, I've read many books on this subject. This is the best. It focuses on the way real world ethical dilemmas arise -- not in decisions between right and wrong, but between two options, both of which are "right." This is a short, practical, readable book that really makes you think.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A few weeks ago a customer of mine asked my assistance to help his organisation to write an ethical code. I knew he had been "working" on this topic for the last 2 years and that he had been applying some of the principles I teach in my emotional intelligence classes. Apparently, this hadn't been enough to solve his problem, but it was enough to come back to me to seek my advice. This was one of the books I bought to document myself on the issue.
This book was a good resource by providing me different points of views concerning the question, and by pointing out that it's not a simple matter of making a choice (for instance, one lead by intuition and emotions, as is recommended sometimes). The cases presented point to several kinds of dilemmas: the personal ones (choosing between what's right for you and for the organisation), the managerial ones (choosing between the organisation and the people that ore working for it) and the social ones (choosing between the organisation and the larger social system it's a part of). The book also points out different sources we have for basing our decisions on.
The problem remains that values and principles often point into different directions. Ethical choice techniques such as the "sleep-test", the "golden rule" and other sources of inspiration do not solve this.
Learning from that, it becomes clear why one should not expect to find the answers to your ethical problems in this book. Finding "the" answer is "impossible". In a "defining moment", you will have to examine which values you are committed to, these values will be put to test (will you go for their implications) and they will shape your future.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Damon Timm on May 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While this book may seem catered towards business management issues (and the examples given in the text are), the ideas, values and approaches presented within the text are universal. I, myself, am not a "business person" or "manager" and found this book extremely enlightening and helpful, and can apply the values and examples to my own life and work.
The basic premise of the book revolves around (what Badaracco calls) the "defining moments" of an individual's life; these are instances in which a person is faced with a decision that has no clear "right vs. wrong" answer (which he calls a "right vs. right" question), yet the decision the individual makes will define who the person is in times that follow. He uses three different examples of real-life quandaries that managers have faced in the past (as well as their conclusions). Badaracco does not tell his audience how they should act in a given situation, but instead, gives the audience the introspective tools needed to make better decisions that support who they are as an individual.
Again, terrific book and well worth anyone's time who is interested in the ethical decision making process.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit in a management development class with Aristotle, Machiavelli and Nietsche all firing questions at you? I had a blast reading through the challenging case studies in this book. The author takes you "crop dusting" through personal right/right decisions that make you realize all of the aspects of your personal value system matched up against your oganizational mission. He then cruises up to about 30,000 feet with an employee/manager problem that exemplifies the scope and impact of your decisions as a manager. Just when you thought it was OK to have a beer in first class, he puts on the afterburners for a climb up to 100,000 feet with a perplexing global impact decision that faced a drug company and it's chief executive officer. As a front line operations manager with about 6 years of management experience - I have even greater respect for my peers and my organization and the decisions we make. However, I have even greater respect for the intelligent CEO's who are torn by unbelieveable decisions and come through smelling like a rose. This book is a mirror that reflects your responsibility as a manager and a tool in helping you balance the scales between managing people and profits. You will sleep much easier with your business decisions after considering the questions that our forementioned friends will fire at you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kris Tuttle on February 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this a few years after I had been in senior management and wished deeply that I had discovered it earlier. One of the great challenges facing new managers is decision making where the choices all involve some positive and negative aspects. There are also many organization pressures that force individuals to consider suboptimal paths to "be a team player."

It's a slippery slope and one that is hard to navigate without a great deal of thought and a clarity of personal professional purpose.

This is a small book that easily engages the reader in a fascinating path to understanding these core management issues.

Management, especially senior management, starts to look like politics and turns into a soup of interests and circumstances that make the "right" decision hard to discern and possibly even harder to live with.

Given the impact to size ratio and high quality of the writing I'd make this book a must-read in the category.
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