Mar 3, 2003


hi folks,

When we were in B school (XLRI, Jamshedpur) we had a core course
called "Business Ethics" which would evoke a lot of yawns and
amazement from the students (XL was the first B School to introduce
this course in the mid 80s)...and the comments would range from "How
boring" "Global fundas" "what an oxymoron" etc etc

Of course this was much before Enron and ensuing scams, and I
guess "ethics" has become hot now :-)

My OHO (own humble opinion) is that ethics (amongst other things) is
an organizational trait that is a direct descendant of the
entrepreneur/visionary's worldview and mental models....this shapes
the policies, processes and the unwritten rules of conduct as to
what goes and what does not go in that organization. If the founder
is a person who wants to "win by hook or crook" then the
organization degenerates into "ends over means" ...If the founder
takes the view that the path and the goal are both non-compromisable
then the foundation is laid for a truly 'generative' corporate

Some organizations have achieved outstanding success with "ethical
business" and some have achieved it without it...The reason for the
debate exists because nobody can prove that ethical business
practices lead to business growth...there have been cases recently
of academic research suggesting that "good" CEOs are much better for
the organization and employees than "loud abrasive" CEOs...however
that has to be seen in the social context of the Protestant work
ethic in the US and could be a result of the need to "right"
sentiments towards business post-Enron...

I guess the time is just right for a research study in this area in
India...any PhD student interested ;-) ?