Wednesday, September 14, 2005
An Ethical Conundrum...
As you folks may or may not know I recently started in the MBA program at the University of St. Thomas where they say that business ethics is a big deal. In the College of Business mission it states that “we are committed to encouraging serious consideration and application of ethical values in business decision making.”
A movie I watched recently has made me take a second look at what exactly ethics in the bussiness community and society in general really means. In the movie, The Corporation, they look at a study done by Russell Mokhiber entitled Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade (the nineties).
And after watching the movie and looking over the study I had a number of questions about our society and its ethics. I think it is reasonable to say that not to many people would be excited about going to work for a small business that is owned by an individual that has been convicted of child abuse or has been convicted of dumping dangerous chemicals in his neighbor’s backyard. So then why is it morally and ethically acceptable to go to work for criminal corporations who do virtually the exact same thing only on a larger scale?
What is it exactly about the giant faceless corporation that makes us willing to accept and shrug off their endangerment of the public, but when an individual does so we write them off as a terrible person? Is it the corporate PR machine that allows them to maintain their wholesome image? Maybe it is the fact that corporations are so intertwined in our lives that we consider them almost like family members who always have the best of intentions and deserve a second chance?