Taking the Road Less Travelled: Understanding Conflicts and Making Ethical Decisions (House building in Cambodia)


Having experienced Cambodia in 1970 before the Khmer Rouge years, Ian MacDonald had the opportunity of revisiting there in recent years for some community work building houses with Tabitha Cambodia. Ian’s career had been in leadership development in Lend Lease and then as IBM’s Leadership Executive for Asia Pacific.  He saw a unique opportunity to combine the physical and moral challenges of building houses for the underprivileged in Cambodia with a program that examines values and explores tools for ethical decision making

In today’s fast paced and bottom-line focused corporations, making even the simplest of decisions can involve explicit and hidden conflicts. Many business leaders have received little input on how to structure these sorts of decisions. Ian has worked with Ann Whyte and Tony McGarn to devise a 12 day leadership program that addresses these issues and is being conducted in conjunction with Tabitha Cambodia.  Tabitha was founded in 1994 to work exclusively to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor. As of July 2005, Tabitha has helped more than 500,000 Cambodians (approximately 1 in 20 members of the entire population).

Ian is leading a group of participants on a 2 week trip from 13th October until 1st November, with the aim of building up to 5 houses per day over 4 building days. This will bring participants into close contact with the locals and the communities where the group builds. Visits to the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Torture Museum will also confront the group with political and ethical realities and provide unique learning opportunities regarding individual decision making and responsibility. The group will travel to different and contrasting areas of Cambodia, including the capital of Phnom Pen and the Khmer empire ruins at Angkor, as well as the southern province of Kompong Som for building.

About the Author:

Tamerlaine Beasley is an expert who enables effective collaboration and communication in diverse and global workplaces.She is a member of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and founder and Managing Director of Beasley Intercultural, Australia’s premier cross-cultural training and consultancy company.Tamerlaine’s keynote presentations, advisory services and training programs are described by clients as ‘transformational’ and ‘game changing’. Examples of her work include: coaching and advising business leaders in Australia and Asia; working with global teams to optimise performance; developing a framework for training and capability building through international partnerships for APEC; building local staff capacity at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; leading the development of diversity and inclusion programs for the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Defence.