Ethics in business is not only about behaving well or even doing good. It is also about, as the Hippocratic oath would have it, doing no harm.
The quest for an ethical business model continues at Baruch on October 31st with Mary C. Gentile talking about Giving Voice To Values: The “How” of Business Ethics.
The HSBC-sponsored Student Series on Ethics and Accountability has been focusing on issues of corporate standards and morality for some years now. Dr. Gentile focuses on values-driven leadership and helping managers find their way to an ethical understanding of the issues that face their businesses.
Is there a scenario in which values and ethics can become stakeholders in industry and commerce?
Among the issues that troubled Duff McDonald’s and others was the elevation of the investor as the sole stakeholder a company would recognize. The ethical questions that arise from this practice of bowing only to shareholder value may be subtle, but they result in companies paying employees less in order to keep the stock price high, or in wholesale firings for the same end. The other stakeholders in the proposition– suppliers, partnering entities, the community– are ignored. This was one of points in his October 12th presentation at Baruch’s Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity. (See a New Yorker commentary on McDonald’s book for further enlightenment.)