Good moral character key to guard against perils of power

Having been in senior management for over 20 years, I had the opportunity to observe the interplay of power and the moral identity of people in positions of power ("The unbearable weight of power"; Feb 4).

The phrase "power corrupts" is too sweeping, as a person's moral fibre has a great bearing on his use of power.

Someone with poor moral character tends to abuse his position of power, indulging in despicable acts, like bullying, sexual harassment, and breaking rules and ethical codes.

While a number of useful approaches have been suggested to minimise the corrupting effects of power, implementing them remains a challenge.

This is because, in many instances, the person in a position of power does not adhere to the rules, even though he may have been responsible for advocating them.

What is needed is for senior and top management to have good moral character and values.

However, given the intense politicking that permeates most organisations, such character attributes will seldom propel individuals to positions of power.

Therein lies the irony.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan