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Business Ethics: A View From The Trenches By: Rebecca Cessac, Nancy Roach, Mary Avants, William Worack, Brian Hall.

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Presentation on theme: "Business Ethics: A View From The Trenches By: Rebecca Cessac, Nancy Roach, Mary Avants, William Worack, Brian Hall."— Presentation transcript:

1 Business Ethics: A View From The Trenches By: Rebecca Cessac, Nancy Roach, Mary Avants, William Worack, Brian Hall

2 Overview 30 recent Harvard MBA graduates Felt strong pressures to do unethical things. Ethics programs, Codes of Conduct, mission statements, hotlines offered little or no help

3 Ethical Issues Felt Executives Were: –Out of touch –Too busy –Sought to avoid responsibility Issue Solved By: –Largely by personal reflection –Individual values –Not corporate credos or company loyalty

4 Demographics Two-thirds were men One-third were women Four were African American Half were working for commercial or investment banks, or consulting, accounting, or advertising firms.

5 Just Do It Experience was traumatic Important tests of character Optimistic views

6 Four Commandments 1.Performance is what really counts, so make your numbers. 2.Be loyal and show us that you’re a team player. 3.Don’t break the law 4.Don’t over-invest in ethical behavior.

7 Feckless Ethics Program Half of interviewees worked in companies with some sort of ethics program “Total Hypocrisy” Not creative at all

8 Out of Touch Senior Executives “Don’t break the law, rock the boat, or fail to make your numbers.” Forgot what it was like in the trenches

9 Sleep Test “Can I look myself in the mirror in the morning?” “Gut feel” “Golden Rule”

10 Resilience, Confidence, and Mobility Difficult experiences proved to be valuable “Being able to take a stand and walk away.” Cutting corners gets easier with ties and age “very few companies embodied values consistent with those they hoped to live by”

11 Implications More commitment means strong pressures to choose the easier wrong rather than the tougher right

12 Conclusion & Questions


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