Does Business Ethics Matter?
(from a presentation given by Marianne Jennings, professor, Arizona State University College of Business, 2004)
Ethics at Work:
According to a KPMG 2000 Organizational Integrity Survey,
76% of employees observed a high level of illegal or unethical conduct at work in the past 12 months.
49% of employees observed misconduct that, if revealed, would cause their firms to significantly lose public trust.
76% of MBA’s were willing to understate expenses that cut into their companies’ profits.
Nearly all MBA’s believe that shareholder value is more important than customer service.
Convicts in 11 minimum security prisons had higher scores on an ethical dilemma exam than MBA’s.
Reporting misconduct in a business organization:
65% don’t report misconduct.
96% feared being accused of not being a team player.
81% feared corrective action would not be taken.
68% feared retribution from their supervisors.
We need to move from the question “Could I do this?” to “Should I do this?”
Why does business ethics have such a discounted reputation?
- A victim of urban legend:
“You have to play the game.”
"You can’t get ahead without cutting a few corners.”
“You’ll be eaten alive if you follow the rules.”|
“Ethics is for wimps.”
“It’s a poker game. We’re all bluffing.”
- Lack of enforcement
- Rationalizing, not analyzing:
“If we don’t do it, someone else will.”
“It doesn’t hurt anyone.”
“It’s the way it’s always been done.”
Solving ethical dilemmas:
Define issues properly.
Examine long-term implications of proposed actions.
Look for ways to solve problems and still maintain ethical principles.
Discuss values, not just immediate circumstances.
Treat others (shareholders, administrators, employees, customers) as you wish to be treated.
Imagine discussing your decision with your supervisor, co-workers, clergy, friends, family.