Is Loyalty Evil?

business_ethics_highlights_2Below is a useful, brief exploration of the significance of loyalty in business settings. Loyalty is quite possibly the first value of all organizations. After all, without loyalty to the organization, you don’t have a team, and without a team why have an organization at all? But Asghar rightly points out that loyalty also brings dangers. Loyalty, he argues, should be to principles not people.


LINK: Loyalty Isn’t A Virtue, It’s The Enemy Of Workplace Ethics (by Rob Asghar for Forbes)

Loyalty is not a virtue, even though it feels like the indispensable virtue. And the loyal person is not a saint, even though she feels like the chief of saints.

Technically, loyalty is neither virtue nor vice. It’s simply a tendency, a temperament, a compulsion. But in practice, it fuels the worst movements and developments in human history, as well as much of the rot within ordinary offices today.

Loyalty is what allows followers to not merely overlook the crimes of their leaders, but to spin them into acts of heroism. It sires the worst in our politics today. It allows leaders to overlook the worst sins of their worst followers, thus helping to turn their company or their cause into a toxic, sycophantic moral wasteland. It allows board members to tolerate or rationalize the bad behavior of their chief executive cronies….

What do you think?

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  1. Dan Lofrese

    Do you think that loyalty is an end game mentality aided by a selfish trait, whereby those who are being loyal are fully aware of the consequences (both good and bad)? And are you either the one being loyal or the object of said loyalty? If you are the object of said loyalty, then are you also fully aware of the consequences (both good and bad)? Is it also subject to relative observation? And aren’t the worst movements and developments in human history caused by an equally opposing force that forces that movement into providing an environment ripe for loyal following? Things just don’t happen.

  2. Useful perspective. The same applies to consumer brand loyalty.
    We need to evaluate actions and the social & environmental impact of those actions, and be fluid in our thinking.

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