Pilant's Business Ethics

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Electronic Monitoring Not Just for Criminals

Electronic Monitoring Not Just for Criminals

Tesco accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff – Business News – Business – The Independent

Tesco workers are being made to wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working.

A former staff member has claimed employees are given marks based on how efficiently they work in a bid to improve productivity and can be called in front of management if they take unscheduled toilet breaks.

The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery. Tesco said the armbands are used to improve efficiency and save its staff from having to carry around pens and paper to keep track of deliveries. But the device is also being used to keep an eye on employees’ work rates, the ex-staff member said.

The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target.

Tesco accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff – Business News – Business – The Independent

It is possible to have all the meaning of life drained from one by despair. There are other ways to drain meaning from human beings. Work can be a blessing giving one purpose. I particularly enjoy teaching. But what would my job be like if I was continuously monitored? I’d probably survive but it would take a great deal of fun out of it, making class discussion a minefield of danger, and stifling any original content.

But I have other work experience. I worked in a factory for almost five years doing the most mundane chores for hours on end. Electronic monitoring my every move and penalizing me for bathroom breaks would taken an unpleasant and tedious situation and made it hellish. I suspect four or five years of electronic monitoring might have damaged me or anyone else in that situation psychologically. Certainly, it would have left me with a continuing undercurrent of thought related to my every working motion.

Are workers humans or something a little less? It is frightening to think of this kind of technology in the hands of a totalitarian government or a multi-national corporation.

Do we really want this kind of life for anyone? Is there any idea what the long term effects would be? And if you can think of any long term effects, are there any good ones?

This kind of monitoring needs careful analysis and regulation may well be necessary.

James Pilant

From around the web,

From the web site, Virginia Business Law Blog:

Emerging issues.  An increasingly prevalent area of surveillance that the courts seem to be upholding is the hiring of private investigators to conduct surveillance on employees that are suspected of taking leave dishonestly under the Family Medical Leave Act.  While still a relatively new development, this is one in which the courts are, so far, siding with employers.  With that said, however, this is a very delicate topic as it deals with surveilling employees when they are not at work.  In most cases, there are heavy suspicions of the employee abusing their FMLA leave before any surveillance is conducted, and it is highly encouraged that employers seek legal counsel before considering this option.

From the web site, ITBusiness.ca:

One serious concern that employers must consider, however, is that of employee morale. For some employees, an Orwellian fear of “”Big Brother”” exists in the workplace. Although most employers and employees recognize that the very nature of the employer-employee relationship denotes some level of monitoring, it is difficult to reach agreement on the level that is appropriate. The issue that ultimately emerges is how to balance an employer’s right to manage the workplace against an employee’s right to privacy.

Those advocating employees’ privacy rights often speak to various studies concluding that employer monitoring can have a detrimental impact on employees. Some studies suggest that electronic monitoring is a significant contributor to both psychological and physical health complaints. Workplace privacy proponents argue that monitoring creates feelings of paranoia and increases workers’ stress levels. On this basis, it is argued that monitoring is counterproductive to the result that employers are attempting to achieve.

And from the web site, bixnik: (760 billion a year? How was that number generated?)

Do you have any idea how many hours your employees spend online checking eBay listings, cruising social networks, looking for vacation deals, Googling old flames or (even worse) ogling porn or gambling? A survey by America Online and Salary.com concluded that employers spend nearly $760 billion a year paying employees to goof off on the Web. And with the ever-increasing popularity of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, the urge to goof off instead of working increases daily.

It’s no secret that the days of worker privacy have long since passed. With the serious potential of harassment lawsuits and security breaches that involve the release of company private information, most companies large and small have implemented Internet monitoring spy ware.

A recent Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey report has revealed that companies are “increasingly putting teeth in technology policies.” Workers have been fired from 26% of the companies surveyed for misuse of the Internet, and 25% have terminated employees for misusing e-mail.

 

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Ethics and the Personal Finance Industry

 

Ethics and the Personal Finance Industry

The personal finance industry can’t save us – Salon.com

How does the industry prey on our fears about our inability to save and plan for the future?

We can’t articulate that for all too many of us our problem is not an inability to manage and invest money effectively; it’s that we’re expected to do more and more with less and less. So we think we are individually messing up, that we lack the financial skills and smarts to get ahead. The financial services industry presents itself as our savior. But by doing that, it has to confirm our cultural bias that we are alone responsible for our financial fates.

You see this dynamic especially in personal finance and investment initiatives aimed at women, which contain an almost odd mix of the language of empowerment and infantalization. They tell us we are women, we are so strong because we do so much more around the home and work than men, but yet we are financial illiterates who have no clue. In fact, both sexes have low financial knowledge. Men have more money than women for the most obvious of reasons: they earn more.

You mention the work of economist Teresa Ghilarducci, “the most dangerous woman in America.” Who is afraid of her and why?

It became very clear to me while reporting this book that Teresa Ghilarducci had hit a nerve in the financial services sector that no one else had. The reason, to me, was obvious. Most other people discussing retirement reform schemes (Auto IRAs, Save More Tomorrow and the like) were talking about expanding the role – or at least the bottom line of — the current dominant players on the retirement scene. I mean the retail brokerages, the 401(k) plan providers, the dominant mutual fund companies and the like. Ghilarducci’s Guaranteed Retirement Accounts calls BS on this model. First, she points out how much money the current retirement is making on what we think is our money. Second, her model would bring new players in, and I mean new, powerful players – state pension funds, institutional investors, and hedge funds – into the game.

The personal finance industry can’t save us – Salon.com

Ethics and the Personal Finance Industry

Personal responsibility. I believe in it. I recognize the power of it, the usefulness of it. But circumstances have to be taken into consideration. We do get injured, become ill and suffer accidents. We can be killed by natural disaster or more mercifully, have homes or businesses destroyed. Choice and environment interact to produce our reality.

Here we have a situation which the personal finance industry proclaims loudly and persistently that if you only change your decision making and be tough on yourself, that you can attain financial stability and even possible eventual wealth. I would prefer that industry to look at this situation from a business ethics stand point and promise less because personal choice is only part of the equation. If a great majority of the American people had shared in the profits of the increased production and financialization of the last thirty years, I think most financial suffering might be attributable to poor planning. But here again, we have circumstances, downward wage pressure, very high unemployment, a replacement of stable pension with the disastrous 401K’s, the changes in the bankruptcy act, the plague of student loans, etc.

Americans of the middle class suffer from real wage pressure and for many, no amount of planning will fix those problems. Americans of the lower class are simply in the midst on an ongoing week to week, day to day, financial disaster.

Financial planning can be useful but only in proportion to the amount of disposable income in the individual cases. If the disposable income is inadequate, no amount of planning can fix it. Promising magical fixes from non-existent resources is not ethical. Financial planning is not for everybody.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Personal Finance for Beginners:

Your questions in personal finance would revolve around the following:

How much money will be needed by you at various points in the future?
Where will this money come from (e.g. savings or borrowing)?
How can you protect yourself against unforeseen events in your lives, and risk in financial markets?
How can family assets be best transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
How do taxes (tax subsidies or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
Your Personal financial decisions will involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement. Personal financial decisions may also involve paying for a loan.

From the web site, Finance for Youth: The Blog:

A couple of days ago, a young student approached me and asked me for some career advice. The student wanted to understand a little more about what banking and finance is about, and how it measures up in terms of their “dream job“. I was very impressed with this young student, because unlike many of their peers, they were actually trying to look at their future and start planning. This student, to be fair, is part of an advanced group of students. They get tutoring as part of their regular school day, they have additional instruction in note-taking and other study skills, and they are in advanced Math and English classes. They have a leg up over many students already. This young person seemed to have a leg up on even this group.

And from the web site, Nancyeewing:

You need to make a plan of what you really want in life that money can buy. Then you must find out how to get the money it takes to finance it and finally start to implement this plan. This is the long term part of your financial life – the process of personal financial development from the state you are in right now – to the state you want to be in. This journey toward financial freedom is in my opinion the most interesting and exciting part of personal financing you can have.

 

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Executives Have Vivid Imaginations

Executives Have Vivid Imaginations

American Workers Lack Common Sense Skills, Executives Say

 

Workers lack communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills executives say, according to a recent survey by the American Management Association. Turns out, bosses aren’t too excited about their underlings’ abilities, a prospect they’re getting more worried about considering such skills will be more important amid a changing business landscape, they say.

The number of executives rating their employees as below average increased across all four areas since the survey was last taken in 2010. Almost 20 percent of workers lack at least average creative skills, according to executives.

American Workers Lack Common Sense Skills, Executives Say

img156Yes, there has been a collapse in worker capabilities since that grand old time of American capability: 2010! That’s right. According to these executives (experts?), in the last three years, workers have become more incompetent. At a time, when the pool of available workers desperate for employment has been the highest since the great depression and they having the pick of the litter, the workers just aren’t as good.

Do you know what this means? It means these executive get together, talk a lot and gripe, then they take surveys. Next year, they may decide the food is bad or they don’t like the weather or they’ll go back to complaining about, that old favorite, “economic uncertainty.”

The idea that educational and judgment standards have dropped across the board in this country in three short years is simple nonsense. There is no change in the educational system, in hiring, or anything else, that would explain such a change. It’s just imagination, a particularly vivid imagination. What’s worse is that some people take this kind of survey nonsense seriously.

I tell you what, let’s ask the workers if their bosses have become less competent over the last three years. In fact let’s survey the workers the same way we do “executives” about basic skills and who has them. Then we could compare. That would be interesting statistics.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Ideagency:

Obviously, the notion that Americans aren’t hard-working isn’t supported by the statistics.  Beyond the numbers, however, my experience working with my own clients support Begala’s argument.  The people I meet – whether they work in finance, manufacturing, retail, technology or health care – are not lazy.  Far from it.  Despite the lack of raises, bonuses, and other perks that have been severely cut back (or eliminated), the vast majority of employees I encounter are diligent, industrious, and proud of the work they do.  I would imagine this holds true for most workers.

From the web site, Irregular Times Diaries:

Yesterday, Senator John McCain was giving a political speech in front of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department, when he blasted American workers as lazy, ungrateful people incapable of doing a good day’s work

Senator McCain said it was necessary for farmers to employ illegal aliens because American workers are too lazy and wimpy. McCain thought that he was being clever when he rhetorically offered to pay anyone in the audience 50 dollars an hour to pick lettuce.

And from the web site, Understanding China, One Blog at a Time:

A commenter recently called me a malingerer, surprised by such harsh words, I rushed to m-w.com to see just what the word meant— malingerer “to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or work)” Reflecting on those harsh words, as I scanned the interweb aimlessly, I came across the following photos. And although I would not say that I am a malingerer (in terms of feigning illness) one could argue that I am currently not devoting all of my neurons to the task of making money for any one company , thus the word loafer may be more appropriate..

 

 

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Geoff Burch and Frito-Lay

Geoff Burch and Frito-Lay

Geoff Burch – American vs UK Business – funny because it’s true! – YouTube

This brief video is very funny and something of a compliment to the Frito-Lay company and its marketing practices. Of course, Geoff Burch is well known both in comedy and business circles for his wit and judgment,

James Pilant

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From around the web –

From the web site, Make It Balance:

As part of the staff mentoring process that we undertake at Balance, Ashley has recently asked me to read a book called The Way of the Dog by Geoff Burch.  The reason behind this was to try to help me to develop management skills and thinking, rather than just being a number cruncher!

When I started to read the book I was in for a bit of a shock…there were no technical management terms (as I would have expected), in fact the book was written as a story.

The story was about a double glazing salesman called Derek who wasn’t very good at his job.  One day, Derek was magically transformed into a sheepdog!  Derek almost instantly fell into a bad crowd of sheepdogs (in this new world it was every sheepdog for himself)!

From the web site, Lee Duncan, the Double Your Business Coach:

Even the best idea without enough follow-through will end in failure, but a poor idea with total commitment to follow-through will get good, or even great, results.  Hence business success is so often 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

This came back to my mind this evening while I watched “All Over The Shop”, the BBC2 programme featuring business coach Geoff Burch visiting retailers in a selected city (Bristol this time) to give them tips to improve their fortunes.  Of the three shops I saw him visit, one of them did very little, even though the changes suggested were clearly going to improve his sales.

And finally, from the web site, Madalina Antohe, A Blog About Life As It Is:

I do not have a lot of favorite writers, but there are a few whom I just love. One of them is Geoff Burch. So far I’ve read 4 of his books and learnt something from each of them. But my ultimate favorite book written by him is The Way of the Dog. Let me explain.

First of all, you should know that GB’s style is a bit unusual to those used to reading self help and business books. Funny is a bit of an understatement. And describing him as a person thinking outside the box (such a cliché) is just a way of underestimating the power of his charm. Did I mention that he wanted to name this book Doing’ it Doggy Style? :)

Enough about the author who, by the way, is brilliant.

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Ants and Lions in Entrepreneurship

Ants and Lions in Entrepreneurship

What They Don’t Teach in Business School about Entrepreneurship – YouTube

This is from the Stanford School of Business, a panel discussion from the 2010 Conference on Entrepreneurship. This video is deliciously titled “What they don’t teach you in Business School about Entrepreneurship.”
The discussion about “ants and lions” comes along about thirty minutes in. Don’t miss it. It’s perceptive. The panelists are Mike Cassidy, Chuck Holloway, and Nazila Alasti.
James Pilant
From around the web –
The Lion?

The Lion?

From the web site, Center for Entrepreneurship:

The previous blog  introduced two important questions any time-management process starts with. Here are a few tricks I found useful when aligning our time investments to our core objectives and principal goals.

But, the challenge of an entrepreneur and change leader is she is pulled in all different directions at the same time, which makes it extremely difficult to continually create success. Instead of racing and gaining, the entrepreneur lies on her back and is trampled by ants.  Every day is filled with tens and hundreds of actions and activities all of which seem important somehow, but together nearly immobilize her. Like with so many, the passion slowly drains out of the entrepreneur, and her goals start fading. Instead of looking to the big goals, moving forward, the small things in life take over.

From the web site, Arnonuemann – Thought Leadership: (I highlighted the text beneath the pretty graph and the graph came with it. It looks nice, so I’m keeping it but if there is a problem, let me know and I’ll pull it immediately. jp)

Lessons from the ants : all for one ( mission ) and one is there for all ….

“But ants aren’t nature’s only high-functioning teams. Packs of wolfs, pods of dolphins, and prides of lions all share remarkable strategies in terms of leadership, connectivity, execution and organization. For nature’s teams, mission matters most. Bioteams are the physical manifestation of a mission. They organize on the fly, adjust strategies in real-time and redefine membership based on environmental demands. Just Google “unicoloniality” to learn more about how some of nature’s teams inherently understand what many human teams essentially do not: membership is a function of achieving the mission and not the other way around.”

And finally from the web site, IllimunationZZ:
There is so much confusion in the air. A lot of people do not even know what they want in Nigeria and you can’t really blame them! Do people have ambitions any longer or they just want to work and get salaries on pay day? Are there counselors aiding, guiding, and moulding the interests of young students in primary and secondary schools; and in Universities? Are parents interested in, and supportive of their children’s ambitions or they just want to bask in the vicarious “glory” of those big names (Engr, Esq, Dr, Pharm, Arch…) for their own ego fulfillment? Are there still career fairs in our secondary schools and tertiary institutions? The system is so dysfunctional that we are busy struggling to accept anything slapped on us simply because there is a salary. Each time I watch National Geographic Channel, the question I keep asking myself is: “how is it that a human being dedicate his / her life time to studying butterflies, ants, birds, lions etc if not passion?” Let s/he who has a passion to bake cakes go on to become a brand; let s/he who loves flowers go on to become a brand florist; let s/he who loves to bake bread go on to become a household baker; let s/he who wants to be a great restaurateur go on to cook great meals; let s/he who sees a niche in mobile toilets go on to fill the void, let s/he who wants to be a great photographer go on to capture the memories etc. That will be Entrepreneurship and it won’t matter if you have chains of degrees or not. Passion would be the catalyst but certainly not running to grab a steering out of frustration from not getting relevant jobs.
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Jewish Business Ethics: “Perfecting the World”

Jewish Business Ethics: “It Was Only Business”

Are Business Ethics an Oxymoron?

Our daily business ethics speak far louder than the words we utter in synagogue.

Rabbi Benjamin Blechby Rabbi Benjamin Blech

And if Harvard MBAs get it, and corporate titans understand it, we certainly ought to focus our attention on the issue of business ethics as one of the most relevant concerns of anyone interested in tikkun olam – perfecting the world.

When we talk about the importance of business ethics as a barometer of spirituality, we need to remind ourselves of the remarkable passage in the Talmud that tells us that after we leave this earth to face our divine judgment, there are many things we will be queried about as the heavenly court reviews our lives. Yet the very first question posed will be: “Were your business dealings conducted honestly?”

And no one will be able to justify his misdeeds by claiming “It was only business!”

Are Business Ethics an Oxymoron?

I want to put more in the blog about religious ethics. I strongly believe that it is neglected and often discarded in discussions of business ethics. But religion has much to say about business conduct from the Old Testament’s demand for just weights to Islam’s ban on interest payments.

James Pilant

From around the Web –

From the web site, Business Ethics Review, here is a post by Yasir Samad:

If the company never seriously thought about whether it is ethical and corporate social responsibility issues, these six can provide guidance to start the process. Although it is important to behave ethically, it is equally important to get the message to the public if a company wants to take advantage of “doing well”.
1. Define what your company stands for and what values it places on the market. Public awareness of these values? Do they have a positive reaction to them?
2. Check the internal and external relations of the company. Do not they make sense and reflect the values of society? Public and the media frequently proclaim the guilt of the association. To search for new relationships with companies that meet ethical standards.
3. Understanding what the public expect from a company today. Are you ready to meet those expectations?
4. Check the location of assets, liabilities, and promises of brands, products, public sector and community initiatives.
5. Compare your public profile, in which private actions. Are in conflict?
6. Do not be shy about spreading the word through the media, employees and community.

From the web site, Richard James Sharp’s Blog:

Ethics involves the notion of morals however they’re different but interrelated concepts (Ethics and morality, n.d.; Tallman 2009).  Morals are the individual establishment between right and wrong whereas ethics occurs in the context of groups of individuals who build shared values and standards creating a culture in which decisions influencing the causal relationship of right and wrong exist (Clawson 2006 ; Hrebiniak 2005 ; Klebe Treviño, Pincus Hartman & Brown 2000 ; Northouse 2009 ; Schein 2004).  There’s a philosophical question of whether businesses have ethics due to the notion that business is apart from society (Longstaff 1991).  However, individual people who constitute the business are part of multiple collectives defining the wider societal and cultural values environment in which ethics resides and the business operates (Huntsman 2008 ; Longstaff 1991).

And finally, from the web site, Bhavin Gandhi’s Blog:

Have you ever saw the definition of business? If you have then you know what I am talking about. In defining a business, ethics don’t play in to the picture at all. Sole purpose of a business is to increase the value for its stakeholders. Thus, can you blame those businesses, who are taking advantage ofthe lower tax policies in Ireland to increase their net income? It might be morally wrong forthose businesses to show all of their profit in Ireland, while they get their 50-70% profitfrom United States, but you can’t do anything about that. As more and more countries loosen their tax policies to attract foreign businesses, there would always be somecompanies who want to move there to increase their net profit by paying lower taxes there.

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Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

People Will Talk = Click this link and you can buy it at Amazon.com for (currently) $11.97 new or $4.95 used.

Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

 

People Will Talk is a great film for teaching. The story of an eccentric doctor played by Cary Grant who has an even more eccentric friend offers many ethical conundrums. Jeanne Crain is the love interest in the film. During the first half, she is troubled and a largely passive character. I was waiting for my intrepid students to call me out on this, since I am a vigorous supporter of powerful women characters but somehow they missed this. When she became a more vibrant and powerful character in the second half, I would’ve been justified but my prepared defense was unnecessary.

Should a doctor disclose all pertinent facts to a patient? Professional Ethics

Is concealing your qualifications immoral?Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is using any means including those outside the current science to heal moral or immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is the comfort of patients more important than the calls of procedure and timeliness on the part of the nursing staff?

What attitude should be taken toward unmarried mothers? Ethics

Is attempting to dig up the dirt on a colleague immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is living off of your relatives wrong all the time? or is it wrong depending on the circumstances?Ethics

At what point is a crime “paid for?” Ethics

MY PARTICULAR Points –

Can a kiss equal a marriage proposal? (A good proportion of my class says no. I differ.) A matter of curiosity

Is a story more effective as persuasion or a presentation of facts? (Bet you have that one figured out.) A matter of what I believe – the class tends to go along with me.

Does a movie (especially a good one) explain a moral problem more clearly than a lecture (although they get a brief one anyway!)?

I observe my classes carefully and I use some of the same films each year. But I experiment with new ones each year as well. This was a new one. It was a great success. The class was delighted with it and paid careful attention. Their assignment was to write down all the moral conundrums they observed. We are going to discuss them tomorrow.

James Alan Pilant

 

Does Teaching Business Ethics Matter? From the Ethics Sage

Does Teaching Business Ethics Matter?

Are Ethics Courses Failing to Produce Ethical Business People? – Ethics Sage

The bottom line is there is no way of knowing whether business ethics education has made a difference. A graduate of a prestigious school might commit fraud in the future, but it doesn’t mean business ethics has failed them or even all students. Organizational pressures and the culture of a firm can create barriers to ethical behavior. The key is to find a way to work through the obstacles and voice your values.

Are Ethics Courses Failing to Produce Ethical Business People? – Ethics Sage

(I should mention that a great deal of this posting dealt with the “Giving Voice to Values” curriculum and the work of Mary C. Gentile. I have visited the web site for this curriculum and liked what I saw.)

I guess you could ask if classes in art, history or music are effective? It’s hard to measure the results once you wander even a little distance from the hard sciences, and even they have trouble coming up with hard data at times. Many of the most important subjects like leadership are difficult to teach and have results hard to measure. Ethics is no different. We “cast our bread on the water” and hope for it to return.

James Pilant

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Islamic Business Ethics!

Business Ethics – Mufti Menk – YouTube

Mufti Menk explains the rules of a good bargain.

I have taught business ethics for some years now and I have tried to emphasize the application of religion to the field. Several Protestant denominations have strong codes of business ethics, and the Catholic Church has an vast array of teachings on the proper conduct of business from a moral standpoint. However, both Judaism and the religion of Islam have a lot to say about business ethics. I have been impressed by the Islamic take on what constitutes proper business conduct.

This brief video is eloquent and beautifully explains the concept of “blessings” in business dealings. Blessings in this teaching are the benefits of the bargain. They are not to be concentrated on one side of the deal but both parties are to share in the prosperity brought about by business deals. I was delighted with the concept and I hope you enjoy it too.

 

Kaaba at night (from wikipedia)

In these days, when many are willing to judge all practitioners of Islam as militant radicals, it is important to recognize the basic morality of the religion and the benefits it has brought hundreds of millions of people. Among those benefits is a strong well taught set of rules for Islamic business ethics.

James Pilant

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Is Teaching Business Ethics a Waste of Time?

Is Teaching Business Ethics a Waste of Time?

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

The only way we’ll get our students to integrate their moral compasses with the practical tools of business we teach them is to incorporate the topic of ethics throughout the curriculum. This will require the accounting and finance and marketing professors to grasp the ethical blind spots inherent in their respective areas, and to appreciate and recognize approaches to lessening them. Professors, in other words, need to be moral architects themselves.

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

Maybe, but I don’t think so. I do think the way like the article says that the way business ethics is taught now is a failure and a disaster. The article recommends embedding ethics in every part of the business curriculum. That would be nice, but it is neither necessary or likely that will happen.

I recommend that business ethics be taught the way I do it. (I know, everybody does – however, hear me out.) I believe in giving business students the opportunity to develop their own moral landscape. I use moral problems, big ones, airline crashes, economic disasters, fires, murders, etc., as examples. Then I ask students the big questions: Who’s responsible and what should be done? They decide within a set of guidelines. I tell them that for every big open ended question, that there are usually around five or so really good answers, eleven to fifteen mediocre answers and an infinity of bad inadequate poorly thought out answers. I tell them to look for the five.

By providing the students with broad guidelines and by refusing to tell them the “right” answers, I engage their judgment. They write brief essays justifying their choices, and then we do it again and again. By the end of the semester, they have created a moral framework, that I hope lasts for their lifetimes certainly for many years. My perception is that self education, self creations in a real sense is the most effective means of education.

James Pilant

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