This paper describes and discusses the Enron Corporation debacle. The paper presents the business ethics background and leadership mechanisms affecting Enron''s collapse and eventual bankruptcy. Through a systematic analysis of the organizational culture at Enron (following Schein''s frame of reference) the paper demonstrates how the company''s culture had profound effects on the ethics of its employees.
This paper is designed to do three things while discussing the challenge of ethical behavior in organization. First, it discusses some reasons why unethical behavior occurs in organization. Secondly, the paper highlights the importance of organizational culture in establishing an ethical climate within an organization. Finally, the paper presents some suggestions for creating and maintaining an ethically-oriented culture.
The institutionalization of ethics is an important task for today's organizations if they are to effectively counteract the increasingly frequent occurrences of blatantly unethical and often illegal behavior within large and often highly respected organizations. This article discusses the importance of institutionalizing organizational ethics and emphasizes the importance of several variables (psychological contract, organizational commitment, and an ethically-oriented culture) to the institutionalization of ethics within any organization.... institutionalizing ethics may sound ponderous, but its meaning is straightforward. It means getting ethics (...) formally and explicitly into daily business life. It means getting ethics into company policy formation at the board and top management levels and through a formal code, getting ethics into all daily decision making and work practices down the line, at all levels of employment. It means grafting a new branch on the corporate decision tree — a branch that reads right/wrong (Purcell and Weber, 1979, p. 6). (shrink)
The recent corporate scandals in the United States have caused a renewed interest and focus on teaching business ethics. Business schools and their faculties are reexamining the teaching of business ethics and are reassessing their responsibilities to produce honest and truthful managers who live lives of integrity and ethical accountability. The authors recognize that no agreement exists among business schools and their faculties regarding what should be the content and pedagogy of a course in business ethics. However, the authors hold (...) that regardless of one’s biases regarding the content and pedagogy, the effective teaching of business ethics requires that the instructor in designing and delivering a business ethics course needs to focus particular attention on four principal questions: (1) what are the objectives or targeted learning outcomes of the course? (2) what kind of learning environment should be created? (3) what learning processes need to be employed to achieve the goals? and (4) what are the roles of the participants in the learning experience? The answers to these questions provide the foundations for any business ethics course. The answers are major determinants of the impact of a business ethics course on the thinking of students and the views on the ethical and professional accountabilities and responsibilities of managers in the workplace. (shrink)
The paper describes and discusses unethical behavior in organizations, as a result of (interacting) disputable leadership and ethical climate. This paper presents and analyzes the well-known bond trading scandal at Salomon Brother to demonstrate the development of an unethical organizational culture under the leadership of John Gutfreund. The paper argues that leaders shape and reinforce an ethical or unethical organizational climate by what they pay attention to, how they react to crises, how they behave, how they allocate rewards, and how (...) they hire and fire individuals. (shrink)
Business ethics is once again a hot topic as examples of improper business practices that violate commonly accepted ethical norms are brought to our attention. With the increasing number of scandals business schools find themselves on the defensive in explaining what they are doing to help respond to the call to teach ‘‘more’’ business ethics. This paper focuses on two issues germane to business ethics teaching efforts: the ‘‘targeted output’’ goals of teaching business ethics and when in the curriculum business (...) ethics should be taught. (shrink)
Efforts to counter software piracy are an increasing focus of software publishers. This study attempts to develop a profile of those who illegally copy software by looking at undergraduate and graduate students and the extent to which they pirate software. The data indicate factors that can be used to profile the software pirater. In particular, males were found to pirate software more frequently than females and older students more than younger students, based on self-reporting.
Business schools have a responsibility to incorporate applied business ethics courses as part of their undergraduate and MBA curriculum. The purpose of this article is to take a background and historical look at reasons for the new emphasis on ethical coursework in business schools. The article suggests a prescription for undergraduate and graduate education in applied business ethics and explores in detail the need to increase applied business ethics courses in business schools to enhance the ethical development of students.
Turning around and changing an organization's culture does not happen by chance. The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into what is needed for an organization to successfully transform itself from a culture and experience that does not support individual ethical behavior. The recent bond trading scandal at Salomon Brothers will be used to demonstrate that a successful ethical turnaround does not just happen spontaneously. In particular, we argue that new leadership, altering policies, structure, behavior, and beliefs are (...) paramount to successfully change to an organizational culture that supports ethical behavior. Schein's five primary mechanisms available to leaders for embedding and reinforcing culture will be used to systematically analyze efforts to change Salomon Brothers' culture. (shrink)
This paper is a contribution to the discussion of how religious perspectives can improve business ethics. Two such perspectives are in natural law of antiquity and recent Catholic social doctrine and teaching. This paper develops a conceptual framework from natural law and CSD/T that business leaders can adopt to build an ethos of humanistic management. This “Human Dignity-Centered” framework fills the gap between time-tested Christian norms and contemporary firm-leaders’ concrete needs. “Human dignity” is used as a rhetorical device to convey (...) the idea that firms are composed of dynamic social networks, with an ultimate purpose of serving human needs. Ultimately, the principles and virtues the framework employs have a logic that should inspire excellence, as ethical practices and concern for human welfare lay a foundation for long-term business prosperity. In a one-frame visual representation, this paper portrays: firm leadership challenges; a transforming ethical prism of principles and virtues; and results and feedback mechanisms. The accompanying narrative describes each element and how each affects humanistic management. Finally, illustrative company examples and questions are provided to illustrate how the framework can be used to benefit human flourishing. The framework provides an adjunct to current formulations of improving managerial excellence. (shrink)
This paper is designed to do four things. First, the paper discusses the importance of groupthink in contributing to unethical behavior. Second, the paper discribes how groupthink contributed to unethical behavior in three organizations (Beech-Nut, E. F. Hutton, and Salomon Brothers). Third, symptoms of groupthink (such as arrogance, overcommitment, and excessive loyalty to the group) will be presented along with two methods for programming conflict (devil's advocate and dialectic) into an organization and group's decisions. Finally, the paper introduces some prescriptions (...) for reducing the probability of groupthink. (shrink)
Building an effective classroom learningenvironment requires that business ethicsteachers pay particular attention to creating aclassroom environment that values the ideasothers have to offer. This article discussesthe importance of conversational learning tobusiness ethics teaching for effectivelearning. The paper also considers thebusiness ethics teacher's role in using aconversational learning approach to teachingbusiness ethics and some learning processesused to create a classroom climate conducive tothis approach for those interested in creatingnew kinds of conversation in their businessethics teaching efforts.
A volume in Contemporary Human Resource Management: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities Series Editor Ronald R. Sims, College of William and Mary The primary purpose of this book is to stimulate dialogue and discussion about the most effective ways of teaching ethics. Contributors to the book focus on approaches and methodologies and lessons learned that are having an impact in leading students to confront with accountability and understanding the bases of their ethical thinking, the responsibilities they have to an enlarged base (...) of stakeholders (whose needs and interests often are conflicting), and their stewardship to use their talents responsibility not only in fulfilling an enterprise's economic goals but also to recognize the impact of their actions on both individuals and larger society. The primary audiences for the book are those individuals responsible for teaching management, especially those with responsibilities for teaching business ethics. But the book is also designed for practicing managers, for these managers have among their most important responsibilities the development of people in their organizations who have the integrity, values, and competences to be effective managers of economic resources while at the same time to recognize the roles of their enterprise in shaping society. (shrink)
After a selective review of relevant literature about teaching business ethics, this paper builds on a summary of Fred Bird’s thoughts about the voicing of moral concerns provided in his book about moral muteness. Socratic dialogue methodology is then presented and the use of this methodology is examined, for business ethics teaching in general, and for addressing our paper topic in particular. Three short form Socratic dialogues about the paper topic are summarized for illustration, together with preparation and debriefing suggestions (...) for a Socratic dialogue unit as part of a business ethics course. In conclusion, Socratic dialogue design is related to the experiential learning approach, and characterized by a few basic traits, which imply both risks and opportunities for business ethics teaching. (shrink)
A Contemporary Look at Business Ethics provides a 'present day' look at business ethics to include the challenges, opportunities and increased need for ethical leadership in today's and tomorrow's organizations. The book discusses current and future business ethics challenges, issues and opportunities which provides the context leaders and their organizations must navigate. The book includes an in‐depth look at lessons learned about the causes of unethical behavior by examining a number of real‐world examples of ethical scandals from around the world (...) that have taken place over the past few decades. The analysis of the various ethical scandals focuses on concepts like ethical versus unethical leadership, received wisdom, the bottom‐line mentality, groupthink and moral muteness, all of which contribute to the kind of organizational culture and ethical behavior one finds in an organization. The book discusses ethical decision making in general and the increased role of religion and spirituality, in confronting unethical behavior in contemporary organizations. The book also takes an in‐depth look at the impact ethical scandals have on employees and more specifically the psychological contract and person‐organization ethical fit with the goal of identifying, along with other things, what leaders can do to restore relationships with employees and rebuild the organization's reputation in the eyes of various stakeholders. (shrink)
This 2nd edition of Executive Ethics provides a variety of contemporary and timely readings squarely focused on the ethical dilemmas and challenges faced by today's C-suite executives. In addition to identifying these dilemmas and challenges, the contributors provide both knowledge and insight on how C-suite executives can proactively address such ethics issues. The contributors provide unique value propositions for the C-suite regarding the most critical ethical issues facing organizations today while also highlighting useful information for senior executives interested in integrating (...) ethics into the leadership and management practices of their organizations. In the end, the book empowers C-suite executives to build a long-term, strategic, and enterprise-wide approach to ethics. (shrink)
The ethical crisis in business and information technology is very real. Countering this crisis by creating organizational cultures grounded in moral character is the challenge people face as leaders if they are to regain the respect and confidence of the public. As educators of future business and information technology leaders, how can educators prepare their students to understand, appreciate, and contribute to the establishment of cultures of character in the organizations which employ them—and which they may ultimately lead? In this (...) article the authors distinguish among four corporate cultures with respect to ethics —cultures of defiance, compliance, neglect, and character—and present a blueprint for constructing an organizational culture grounded in moral character. With respect to showing students how to contribute to such a culture, the authors then describe how to establish an effective learning context for teaching about ethics, proffer a number of practical suggestions for student assignments and experiences that can empower students to understand, appreciate, and contribute to organizational cultures of character, and explain how to enhance experiential learning by conducting an effective debriefing session. The authors conclude the article by providing three examples from their own experience illustrating how these ideas can be incorporated into programs designed to show business and information technology students how to contribute to organizational cultures grounded in moral character. (shrink)