Archive for February 11th, 2019

How to assess Military Strength

February 11, 2019

From time to time – jingoists and war-mongerers keep exhorting war.

But – is war a child’s play…?

Before thinking of war – the first thing a nation has to assess – is its own “military strength” (and the military strength of the adversary)

How do you assess “military strength”…? 

The term “Military Strength” immediately brings to your mind “tangible” aspects like the number of Troops and amount of Military Hardware  (Technology and Weapons) a nation possesses.

But – do you know that there are “intangible” aspects to  “Military Strength” as well…?

Read on…

What is “Military Strength”…?

How do you assess “Military Strength”…?

In a nutshell:

Military Strength = “Hardware” + “Software” + “Skinware” 


I feel that Military Strength has 3 key determinants – mentioned above.

Let me explain the 3 ingredients of Military Strength below.

MILITARY STRENGTH – Musings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve

“Hardware” + “Software” + “Skinware”

The Military Capability of a nation is dependent on 3 key ingredients:

  1. “Hardware”
  1. “Software”
  1. “Skinware”
  1. MILITARY HARDWARE comprises weapons, equipment, ordnance, platforms (ships/submarines/aircraft/space based platforms) etc – and is a Technology governed Qualitative and Quantitative component – depending on the “high-tech” Quality and Quantity of Military Equipment.

Military Hardware is a tangible factor – and – the Military Hardware and Technologies of a nation are well known.

  1. MILITARY “SOFTWARE” refers to the War-Fighting “System”– the operational doctrine, strategy and tactics and the organizational management aspects like Rules/Regulations, HR and Training Policies etc.

Military “Software” comprises both tangible (documented) and intangible (experiential) aspects.

  1. MILITARY “SKINWARE” comprises the Human Resource element of the Defence Services.

Of course – Military “Skinware” includes the Military Men and Women in Uniform (Officers and Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen)

Military “Skinware” also includes the Politicians, Bureaucracy and various Civilians who provide support to the Armed Forces

Yes – an important component of “Skinware” is the Political Leadership – which governs the entire gamut of Defence Services and Security Machinery.

“Skinware” comprises both Quantitative and Qualitative factors – Tangible and Intangible elements.

Of course – tangible “Skinware” numbers can be quantified – a nation may boast of the numerical strength of its Army, Navy and Air Force.

But – the vital characteristic of Military “Skinware” are “intangible” aspects – which comprise indefinable “hard to quantify” factors like morale, leadership quality, ideology, motivation, inspiration, welfare/care of servicemen and military veterans, respect given to the military by civil society, how civilian citizens treat soldiers etc.


A nation must develop its Military Capability in a holistic manner – giving due importance to all 3 aspects – “Hardware” “Software” and “Skinware” – in a balanced and harmonious manner.

High Technology but Low Morale – or – High Morale but Obsolete Technology – or a poorly managed military system – all result in sub-optimal military effectiveness.

All 3 aspects (“Hardware” “Software” “Skinware”) – yes – all 3 factors need to be well developed in a balanced manner.

So – Dear Reader – before we think of war – let us introspect – and holisitically assess our “military strength” – all 3 factors – “Hardware” “Software” and “Skinware” – and see where we stand.

Do we require to augment/optimise – any one – or two – or all the 3 constituents of “military strength”…?

It is only when we are confident of our military preparedness – and we are sure of our our superiority in all the 3 domains – “Hardware” “Software” and “Skinware” – only than we should we start thinking of war – provided – our leaders have the “political will” – and our citizens have the national readiness – for war.

In a nutshell:

Military Strength = “Hardware” + “Software” + “Skinware”

Dear Reader : Do you agree…? 


Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

This is a revised re-post of my article MILITARY PROWESS – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” posted online by me earlier at urls:  and  and and and

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

Link to my blog posts:

The Prize-Catch “Marriage Prospect”

February 11, 2019

Everyone said that he was a “prize catch” Marriage Prospect. 

“The “Boy” has such excellent character and qualities – he has no faults…” my mother said. 

“Yes. Yes. Yes…” I shouted, “He has no faults. That is the reason I don’t want to marry him…”

“You don’t want to marry him just because he has no faults…? What do you mean…?” my mother asked me.

“He is too good to be true…” I said. 

Dear Reader:

I did not want to marry the “prize catch” marriage prospect “Boy” because “he was too good to be true”… 

I was a fool – wasn’t I…? 

Here is the full story… 


Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

When I returned home from work in the evening – I found everyone waiting for me.

Yes – they were eagerly waiting for me to come home from work – my parents – my elder sister and her husband – my aunty (mother’s sister) and her husband – our neighbors and their daughter – and – of course – our maid – she was eavesdropping as usual for some “hot gossip”…

The moment she saw me – my mother said excitedly to me:

“The Boy’s parents called up in the afternoon – the “Boy” has liked you…”

“I got your SMS…” I said to my mother, rather tersely.

“Actually – I called you immediately to give you the good news – but you didn’t answer the phone – so I sent you the SMS…” my mother said to me.

“I was busy…”

“I thought you would be happy to see the good news – and – I expected you to call back immediately the moment you saw the SMS…”

“Good News…? What “good news”…?”

“The “Boy” has liked you. You will be getting married soon and going to America. Isn’t that “good news”…? Aren’t you “happy”…?”

“What do you mean by: “You will be getting married soon and going to America”…? I hope you haven’t…?” I asked my mother.

“Yes. She has…” my father said, “your mother has told the Boy’s mother that you “like” the “Boy”…”

“What…?” I said, shocked.

“We have even fixed up your marriage…” my mother said.


“Next Sunday…”

“Next Sunday…? That’s just 10 days away…”

“It’s a good Muhurat – that’s what the Boy’s mother said – and – I checked up on the astrological calendar too – a very auspicious day – and – it’s an ideal day and date – it will be convenient for everyone to attend the wedding ceremony on Sunday – and – we were so lucky – even a good “Marriage Hall” was available at such short notice – so – we have booked the hall too…” my mother said, matter-of-factly.

“You did all this on the phone…?” I asked my mother, feeling flabbergasted.

“Yes. The Boy’s parents are in a hurry – the Boy has to go back to America by the end of this month – so we have got just 15 days for the marriage – a quick honeymoon – and then – the moment your “spouse visa” comes – you can join your husband in the US…”

“Spouse Visa…?”

“You are lucky – the Boy is already an American Citizen – so he said that he will arrange everything so that you can get there quickly – so – you keep your passport ready with you in your purse – the Boy is coming to meet you at 6:30…”

“He is coming to meet me at 6:30 PM – that’s just half an hour from now…”

“Yes – we have to do things quickly now – you get ready fast – he is going to take you out for dinner – you both can discuss all your marriage plans, honeymoon, going to America, future life etc…”

“What is wrong with you…? When did I ever say that I want to get married to this “Boy”…?”

“Don’t you “like” the “Boy”…?”

“Did I ever say that I “Liked” the “Boy”…? Did I ever say that I wanted to get married to him…?”

“We assumed…”

“How can you assume such things…? I hardly know him…” I said.

My mother looked at me – and – she said to me:

“First – you two met at the “Kande Pohe” girl-seeing ceremony here. Then – the very next day – you two  went out for coffee to get to know each other better. After that – you visited his parents’ house. When I asked you about him – you said to me: “The Boy is Good”… Tell me – didn’t you say: “The Boy is Good”…!!!”

“Yes. The “Boy” may be good – but that doesn’t mean I want to get married to him – and certainly not in such a crashing hurry…” I said.

“I told you – the “Boy” has come to India on a month’s vacation – and – he has to go back to America by the end of the month – so – before that we have to finish off your wedding ceremony – in fact – we have agreed to have just a token engagement ceremony at home due to the shortage of time…” my mother said to me.

“You don’t worry – we will arrange everything – all of us will do all the wedding work – you just have to be present for the wedding ceremonies – that’s all…” my elder sister said.

“Yes – that Wedding Hall is booked – the Menu has been finalized – I have already paid the advance online – we will go there tomorrow morning to finalize the ceremonies and arrangements and tie up the loose ends…” my sister’s husband said.

“We will finish off all the wedding shopping this weekend – you can visit your parlour too – and – by next Sunday – you will be all set for your wedding…” said my aunty (mother’s sister).

“I will get some sample wedding card samples for you to choose from – so – we can give the printing order…” my mother’s sister’s husband said, “you don’t worry – I will handle that end and see that everyone gets invitations in time – I will email them too – and – your father and mother will take you along to invite the very close relatives…”

“Yes – the wedding will happen smoothly – the Boy’s parents are very decent people – they are not insisting on anything. The  Boy’s parents said to me: “Whatever you do – we are happy”…” my mother said.

“Okay…” my father said to me, “you go to your room and get ready quickly – the “Boy” will be here in another 20 minutes…”

“And – wear something nice – and do your hair – and touch up your face up a bit also – I’ll come with you and help you get ready for the “Boy”…” my sister said to me.

“Please Please Please Please Please – I am not interested in getting married to this “Boy”…” I shouted, exasperated.

“What…?” everyone said, looking surprised.

“I do not want to get married to this “Boy”…” I said firmly.

“But why…?” my mother asked me.

“I don’t know – but – I don’t want to get married…”

“You are already 27 years old – and – your father is retiring next year…” my mother said.

“You don’t worry – I am financially independent – I will fund my own marriage – I don’t need any money from you…” I said.

“No. No. Your mother didn’t mean it that way…” my father said, “I want you to tell me one thing – is it that – you don’t want to get married at all – or – is it that – you don’t want to get married to this particular “Boy”…?”

“I don’t want to get married to this particular “Boy”…” I said.

“But why…? What’s wrong with this “Boy”…? He is a “perfect match” for you…” my mother said to me.

The moment my mother finished speaking – before I could say anything – my sister said to me:

“Yes – it is such a nice family – and – the “Boy” has such good character – he has no bad habits – he does not smoke – he does not drink – he is a teetotaller – he so well-mannered, polite and soft-spoken – his mother said that he has a very loving and caring nature – he will be best husband for you…”

“Yes – he is so well qualified – IIT – Ivy League University – excellent career – well settled – and he is already an American Citizen too…” my sister’s husband said.

“You are so lucky that the “Boy” has liked you…” my neighbour said, “if I would had got such a “prize catch” NRI boy for my daughter – I would have married off my daughter to him immediately…”

“Then – why don’t you get your daughter married to him…?” I said rudely to my neighbour.

I instantly regretting my words – so – I apologized to my neighbour:

“I am sorry aunty…”

“It’s okay…” my neighbour said, “it’s your nerves speaking – you are nervous at the speed at which things are happening. You go up and relax for some time and think about it in a calm and logical manner. This “Boy” seems really good – so you must not let go of this fantastic opportunity to get married. You may never get such a good boy again – especially at your age…”

Suddenly – everyone started hounding me.

“Yes – the “Boy” is really good…”

“You will regret all your life if you don’t marry him…”

“A perfect match…”

“Yes – so brilliant – so accomplished – so loving…”

“He looks so handsome – so fair – so smart and debonair – what a smart personality – and – he has such an excellent physique…”

“He is intelligent, well-qualified, doing so well in his career…”

“Yes – and he belongs to such an excellent family – so – he is sure to have good upbringing and values…”

“Didn’t you see how polite, soft-spoken and well-mannered he was – and – the way he talked to his parents and to us – he has such a loving and caring nature…”

“He is an ideal husband…”

“You will not find a boy like him – impeccable credentials – brilliant career prospects – and – exceptional qualities – you name it – and – he has it – intellect, character, personality, elegance, handsome looks, social graces – everything perfect – not a single blemish…”

“Yes – the “Boy” has such excellent character and qualities – he has no faults…


Hearing all this praise of the “Boy” – it drove me crazy – so – I shouted:

“Yes. Yes. Yes. The “Boy” has no “faults” – that is the reason I don’t want to marry him…” 

“You don’t want to marry him just because he has no faults…? What do you mean…?” my mother asked me.

“He is too good to be true…” I said.

“What do you mean “he is too good to be true”…?” my mother asked me.

“I don’t know. But something seems to be wrong…” I said.

“Are you afraid that he may be a “NRI Fraud”…? You don’t worry on that score. We have checked his background thoroughly – he has impeccable credentials…” my sister said to me.

My sister’s husband also “certified” the “Boy”.

“Yes – I have checked up with my NRI friends – one works in the same firm – and another friend lives nearby – and – all of them say that he is an excellent guy…” my sister’s husband said.

“I know his family personally – the Boy’s mother and my mother-in-law are close friends…” my sister said.

(In fact – it was my sister who had suggested this “Boy” to my mother as a suitable husband for me)

“Oh. So – you are worried that if I “reject” the “Boy” – your mother-in-law will get angry with you…?” I said to my sister in quite a nasty tone.

“Of course everyone will be annoyed – we will have plenty of explaining to do. First – mother says “Yes” to the proposal – and now – we will have to make a “U-Turn” and say “No” to the Boy – and all this – just because of your stubborn attitude…” my sister said to me.

“What do you mean by “stubborn attitude”…? I am not going to get married to that “Boy” – just because you want me to get married to him…” I said to my sister.

“But why…? What is wrong with him…?” my sister argued.

“I don’t feel like getting married to him – that’s all…”

“The “Boy” is so good – and – you are already 27…”

“You don’t worry about me – I would rather remain unmarried than marry this “Boy”…”

“You always wanted to go to the US – didn’t you…?  You will not get an opportunity like this again – you will become an American Citizen straightaway…”

“Please. Please. Please. I don’t want to marry this “Boy” – and – that is my final decision…” I said.

“Please try to understand – this “Boy” is really a good match for you – this “Boy” is most suitable for you…”

“Stop it – just stop it – you are saying the same things again and again…”

“Please try to think rationally…”

“Rationally…? What is there to think rationally…?”

“Give me one good reason why you don’t want to marry this “Boy”…” my mother said.

“My “inner voice” says so…” I said.

“Inner Voice…?”

“Yes – “inner voice” – “gut instinct” – “sixth sense” – call it what you like…” I said.

“What nonsense…!!!”

“It is not “nonsense”. I always listen to my “inner voice”. I am not saying that the “Boy” is bad – but – I don’t feel comfortable in his presence – he generates “negative vibes” within me…”

“But – you have met him only three times – at the “girl-seeing” ceremony here – then –you two  went out for coffee to get to know each other better – and – after that – you visited his parents’ house…”

“So what…? I told you that my “inner voice” tells me that I should not marry that “Boy”…”

“Okay – you get ready – the “Boy” will be here at 6:30 PM. You go out with him – have dinner – spend some time alone with him – talk to him – ask him whatever is bothering you – clear up all your apprehensions by talking to him…”

“I am not going out with that “Boy”. In fact – I do not intend meeting him again…”

“But – what will we tell him…?”

“You fixed up my marriage with him without asking me – didn’t you…? Now – you tell him that the marriage is cancelled…” I said to my mother.

“How can we do that…? It will be a big humiliation…” my mother said, with tears in her eyes.

“Why are you acting so “hoity-toity”…?  The “Boy” is a “Prize Catch” – and you should be grateful to me for arranging this match. There were so many girls lined up for him but I made sure that he saw you first. There are hundreds of girls who would jump at the opportunity to marry him…” my sister said.

“Then – let them marry him. I am not interested…” I said.

“You have put us in a very embarrassing situation…” my mother said, “Please change your mind about the “Boy” – at least – you go out with him for dinner…”

“Yes. Yes. You go out with him this evening…” everyone started saying – trying to put pressure on me.

Suddenly – my father intervened – and – he said:

“It is her life – let her decide…”

“What are you saying…?” my mother pleaded with him.

My father turned towards me – and – he said to me:

“You go up to your room and stay there. I will tell the “Boy” about your decision. In fact – I will call up his parents right now and tell them not to send the “Boy” here to our house – that will save him the trip…”

And so – My Marriage to the “Boy” was cancelled.

Everyone was angry with me.

Relations between me and everyone were spoilt forever.

My mother said that the Boy’s parents were very angry – and they insulted my father – when he phoned them to cancel the marriage.

For my mother – my marriage to that “Boy” would have been a “social triumph”.

But now – because of my obstinacy – everything was ruined – and – she thought that she would look like a fool in society.

My father remained silent – but – I could see that he was upset.

My sister stopped speaking to me – she never forgave me for creating a rift between her and her mother-in-law (who was a close friend of the Boy’s mother).

My aunty stopped looking for “Suitable Boys” for me.

Our neighbour told everyone what a big fool I was – and – she prophesied that I would never get married – and she predicted that I would remain a spinster for my entire life.

The “Boy” got married to his “second choice” girl – he had “shortlisted” five girls in just one week – that will give you an idea of how much the “Boy” was in demand – he was a real “prize catch” – who – I had let go…

Sometimes – I too felt pangs of regret – but then – my conscience told me that I had done the right thing – by listening to – my “inner voice” – my “sixth sense” – “gut instinct” – “vibes” – call it what you like – I think you know what I am talking about.

I had sensed something wrong about the “Boy”.

But – I could not put my finger on exactly what was wrong – I had experienced a sense of negative feelings about the “Boy” – negative emotions that I could perceive – but I could not quantify or enumerate.

Yes – I am human.

So – I did feel a pang of regret – that I had spurned a “golden opportunity”.

But – I forgot about the episode in due course of time.

I moved on – and – I got on with my life.


Around one year later – a smart girl walked into my office.

I recognized her at once.

She was the “second choice” girl – who had got married to the “Boy” – who I had “rejected”.

How did I know this…?

Simple – I had seen her profile on Facebook.

A few days after “rejecting” the “Boy” – I wondered who he had married.

So – in my curiosity – I surfed the Social Media – and – I had seen pictures of his grand wedding and his new bride (the girl who had taken my place and got married to the “Boy”).

I asked the girl to sit down.

She had come to submit her resume in person for a “walk-in interview”.

As HR Manager – I was supposed to scrutinize her resume – and – take a preliminary interview – and then – if I found her okay – I was to send her for the final interview with our Boss in the next cabin.

I opened the resume folder.

Her surname indicated that she was still married to the “Boy”.

“You are married to “XXX”…?” I asked her. (The Boy’s name was “XXX”…)

“Yes…” she said.

“But – your husband lives in New York – isn’t it…? He is an American Citizen – isn’t he…?”

“How do you know…?”

“Well – you just answer my question…”

“Yes – he is in New York…”

“So – why do you want a job here in Pune…?”

“I have come back…”

“You have come back to India…? Oh. So – has your husband has relocated here to Pune for work…? For how many years…?”

“I have come back alone…” she said, with a slight quiver in her voice.

“Alone…? Why have you come back alone…?” I asked her.

“I’d rather not say – it is personal…” she said.

“Well – you will have to tell me – this is an interview – and – in case you are selected for the job – we will be doing a thorough background check in any case – so – it is best you tell me everything truthfully…” I said firmly.

“I have left my husband – I have applied for divorce – I am not going back to him ever again – I have permanently left him…” she said, choking a bit.

“Oh – what happened – why did you leave him…?” I asked, curious.

“He was a pervert…” she said, with tears appearing in her eyes.

It was cruel of me – but – I pursued the topic – and – I said to her:

“What do you mean he was a “pervert”…? I have met your husband – and – he seemed to be a perfect gentleman…” I said to her.

“Yes – for the outside world – he was a “goody-goody” well-mannered gentleman – but – behind closed doors – he was a cruel depraved “pervert”…” she said.

And then – she broke into tears.

“Oh – so he was a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type personality…?” I said.

She did not answer – because – by now – she had broken down completely – her composure was totally shattered – and – she was crying copiously.

I imagined myself in her position.

I thanked my stars – that – I had listened to my “inner voice” – and – I had not married the “Prize Catch” Boy.


Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original posts of this story in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: and

This is a revised repost of my story The “PRIZE CATCH” Husband first posted online by me in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on February 16, 2017 at url and in my Writing Blog at url and and and  etc

Ethical Fitness : What is your stage of Moral Development…?

February 11, 2019

You are concerned about your Physical Fitness – and you sweat it out in the Gym.

You are worried about your Intellectual Fitness – and you slog it out studying for hours.

You may be worried about your Emotional Fitness – and you go in for self-help philosophy and counselling and therapy.

You may be worried about your Spiritual Fitness – and you turn to Religion.

But – are you worried about your Ethical Fitness…? 

Have you assessed your own Ethical Fitness…? 

Are you taking any steps towards enhancing your Ethical Fitness…?

Read on …


When recruiting new people, or promoting/appointing persons to senior/sensitive positions, a number of attributes (Hard Skills and Soft Skills) like Professional Competence, Managerial Proficiency, Domain-specific or Technical skills, and pertinent soft skills comprising leadership, communication, behavioural and emotional aspects, and even physical and medical fitness are assessed, evaluated and given due consideration.

But does anyone evaluate a candidate’s Ethical Fitness before recruitment or appointment or promoting an employee…?

No – I am not talking about the routine verification of antecedents or background integrity checks.

I am talking of assessing Ethical Fitness.

Ethical fitness refers to ensuring that people are in proper moral shape to recognize and address ethical dilemmas.

Ensuring Ethical fitness in a proactive manner will result in Preventive Ethics – rather than corrective Ethical Management.

Before launching any inquiry pertaining to the concept of Ethical Fitness – it is necessary to explore the moral dimension.

Moral development is a prerequisite to ethical behaviour.

Moral Development is the sine qua non to evaluate Ethical Fitness.

In fact – Moral Development is the benchmark of Ethical Fitness.

Kohlberg offers a handy framework for delineating the stage each of us has reached with respect to personal moral development.

Your “Ethical Fitness” will depend on your stage of “Moral Development”.

In a nutshell – the governing factors pertaining to six stages of moral development which determine Ethical fitness may be summarized as:

FEAR – Stage 1
NEEDS – Stage 2

Dear Reader – let us explore these 6 stages of moral development and you can see where you fit in.

Stage 1.  Physical consequences determine moral behaviour. (FEAR)

At this stage of personal moral development, the individual’s ethical behaviour is driven by the decision to avoid punishment or by deference to power.

Punishment is an automatic response of physical retaliation.

The immediate physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness.

Such moral behaviour is seen in cadets at military training academics and students at old style boarding schools where physical punishment techniques are prevalent with a view to inculcate the attributes of obedience and deference to power.

Stage 2.   Individual needs dictate moral behaviour. (NEEDS)

At this stage, a person’s needs are the person’s primary concern.

The right action consists of what instrumentally satisfies your own needs.

People are valued in terms of their utility.

Example: “I will help him because he may help me in return – you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.”

Stage 3.   Approval of others determines moral behaviour. (CONFORMANCE) 

This stage is characterized by decision where the approval of others determines the person’s behaviour.

Good behaviour is that which pleases or helps others within the group. The good person satisfies family, friends and associates.

“Everybody is doing it – so it must be okay.”

One earns approval by being conventionally “respectable” and “nice.”

Sin is a breach of the expectations of the social order.

The “log kya kahenge” syndrome and conformance prevails.

Stage 4.  Compliance with authority and upholding social order are a person’s primary ethical concerns. (COMPLIANCE)

“Doing one’s duty” is the primary concern. Consistency and precedence must be maintained. Example: “I comply with my superior’s instructions because it is wrong to disobey my senior.” Authority is seldom questioned.

“Even if I feel that something may be unethical – I will unquestioningly obey all orders and comply with everything my boss says – because I believe that – “The boss is always right”…”

Stage 5.  Tolerance for rational dissent and acceptance of rule by the majority becomes the primary ethical concern. (CONSENSUS)

Example: “Although I disagree with her views – I will uphold her right to have them.”

The right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights, and in terms of standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society. e.g. the Constitution.

The freedom of the individual should be limited by society only when it infringes upon someone else’s freedom.

Stage 6.  What is right is viewed as a matter of individual conscience, free choice and personal responsibility for the consequences. (CONSCIENCE & FREE WILL)

Example: “There is no external threat that can force me to make a decision that I consider morally wrong.”

An individual who reaches this stage acts out of universal ethical principles.

Moral development is in no way correlated with intellectual development or your position in the hierarchy or factors like rank, seniority, status, success or wealth.

There is a saying:

“Honesty and Loyalty may be often more deeply ingrained in the make-up of simple and humble people than in men of high position. A man who was taking bribes when he was a constable does not turn honest when he becomes the Chief of Police. The only thing that changes in the size of the bribe. Weakness of character and inability to withstand temptation remains with the man no matter how high he climbs.” 

Before we try to delve into exploring how to evaluate Ethical Fitness, let us briefly ponder on the concepts of Ethical Susceptibility and Ethical Vulnerability.

Ethical Susceptibility is your inability to avoid ethical dilemmas.

Ethical Susceptibility is environment dependent (on external factors) – like – for example – your job, your boss, colleagues and subordinates – or the persons around you – or even the “prevalent organizational culture”.

Ethical Vulnerability is your inability to withstand succumbing in the given ethical dilemmas /situations. It is dependent on your internal stage of moral development in the given ethical situation.

Whereas being in an ethical dilemma is not in your control – to act in an ethical manner in the prevailing situation is certainly in your control.

Ethical vulnerability is a measure of the ease with which a man be ethically compromised – especially in an ethically poor climate.

In situations where the ethical susceptibility is high – morally strong people (ethically non-vulnerable persons) should be appointed.

And conversely – only in jobs/situations where ethical susceptibility is low – should ethically vulnerable persons be permitted.

If the environment is not conducive – a person can intellectually reach stage 6 (Conscience and Free Will) – but he deliberately remain morally at stage 4 (Compliance) – because he may realise that he has to sacrifice too much in his life to reach stage 6.

This can be particularly seen in most hierarchical organizations where most smart employees make an outward preference of being at stage 3 or 4 (Conformance and Compliance) in order to avoid jeopardizing their careers – even if internally they have achieved higher ethical states.

This “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” schizophrenic moral approach is at the heart of many ethical dilemmas people encounter in their professional lives and may result in internal stress due to ethical confusion.

Whenever two individuals at different stages of moral development interact with each other – both of them try to force or maneuver the other person into their own appreciation of the ethical situation – thus leading to ethical conflict.

In a formal hierarchical setup – the players in the chain may not be at similar stages of moral development – resulting in ethical mismatch – thereby leading to dissonance in the system.

Where the ethical susceptibility is high – morally strong people (less vulnerable) should be appointed.

And conversely – in only such jobs where ethical susceptibility is low – should ethically weak persons be permitted.

What is your stage of personal moral development…?

Be honest with yourself and recall the decisions you made in recent ethical situations.

The six stages are valuable landmarks as they tell you approximately where you are and what changes you will have to make in yourself to move to a higher level of moral development.

The ultimate goal is to engage in ethical decision making at Stage 6 (CONSCIENCE & FREE WILL)

However, the level that you do reach will depend on your ethical commitment, your ethical consciousness and your ethical competence.

Food for Thought

What do you do if your boss is at a lower stage of moral development than you…?

Do you masquerade and make a pretence of being at the “appropriate” stage of what moral development and practice situational ethics to reap maximum benefits…?

This Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic ‘situational ethics’ approach may cause your outer masquerade to turn into inner reality.

That is how some honest individuals become corrupt in due course of time.

Do you want that to happen to you…?

Think about it…!!!

Further Reading on Ethics: 





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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

The above post is based on of my management lectures on Ethics written 25 years ago in 1993 and posted online a number of times on various educational/academic websites and my blogs including at urls:  and  and

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