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Creating ethical organizations
I was asked recently how one could create an ethical organization and it made me think about this tricky subject.
My answer was simple, although making it happen is not that easy.
This highlights a significant point: companies will generally act in accordance with their owner's wishes. When a company goes public and effectively fall under the control of corporate investors, their sole concern is money, and so the company becomes primarily money-focused and ethical concerns are driven more by keeping the journalistic and regulatory wolves from the door than a true concern for doing what is right.
The silver lining of the Enron cloud was that this single-minded focus on money was interrupted. One of the effects of the expos?was that companies became a lot more concerned about ethical behaviour, particularly of senior managers. 'Make money at any price' is no longer a valid proposition when it results corporate collapse and the boss (and maybe a few others) going to prison.
Ethics, it seems, is now big business, as evidenced by the now-familiar 'CSR' (Corporate Social Responsibility), and which also includes issues such as global warming and pollution. A worry with this is that companies may be still as bad as they were, but are now being more careful with PR to give a face that seems to show an ethical concern.
It is also curious (and perhaps worrying) that religious fundamentalism is on the rise. This should lead to better ethics but can also bring along its own can or worms. It also raises the question as to who the guardians of ethics might be. Is it religious leaders? When 'ethics' includes intolerance of other groups then the result is very destructive conflict. Is it the United Nations? Who decides what is 'right' and 'wrong'? Newspapers often trump about good and (mostly) bad, but seldom discuss how they decide on the difference.
In the end, it does all come down to leadership. If I can persuade others that I have discovered the right way to be, then they will follow me. The only question then is what I will persuade of them as to what my form of ethics will be.
Certainly the principal-agent problem is a driving factor in some of the more
outrageous scams involving rapacious managers, insidious coteries, etc.
Ethical organizations should be developed very well. From the religious
point of view moral actions of everyone in a society will influence on each
other, so we should try to live without bad nature.
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With the best regards!