The Professions Group Wales (PGW), which consist of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Wales, CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) Wales, The Law Society, ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and RICS Wales, is a professional body whose objectives are to promote and maintain relations with national and local government, other public sector partners and organisations namely CBI (Confederation of British Industry), Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses etc. Providing social, professional, networking activities for the members, working with the media and integrated with other related purposes such as social welfare are key aims of this group. (RICS Global)
When carefully analyse, it is apparent that PGW is associated with professionals who are directly connected with the modern business activities.
Speaking on Business Ethics at the PGW conference held on 11th January 2010, David Rosser, CBI Director, whose organisation's mission is to 'sustain the conditions in which businesses in the United Kingdom can compete and prosper for the benefit of all' (CBI - the Voice of Business :1), draws the attention of other business leaders of the awareness of Business Ethics. Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales has supported him by giving a solution, by talking about the MBA Oath.
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What are Business Ethics?images.jpg
Dr. Morgan in his draft speech says
'To talk about ethics means talking about how we should live our lives and the kind of people we ought to be and the way we would like our communities to function' (BBC News: 12.01.2011)
The practice of what is morally right and what is not in businesses can be defined as Business Ethics. Although, the interest in business ethics is highlighted in the recent past, it has been in existence since medieval period. The 'Canon' Law of the Roman Catholic Church clearly describes what the legitimate behaviour in the business world is. (Chryssides G. and Kaler J. :1993)
Some business ethics are imposed by law. It is said that law ends where business ethics starts. But, it is more suitable to say that ethics and law are two entities which overlap each other and it is shown below in diagram 1. Most issues arise in any environment are not totally covered by law. This will be clearly illustrated at a later stage of this document, with real world experiences, such as Primark Child Labour - 2008 issue.
Every society is not only made up of political, legal and economical standards, but it is also strongly bound by moral rules. Since a business can only be
functioned in the society it should meet the standards stipulated in legal, political and economical sector and moreover it has to be ethical.
Why Business Ethics are important
To develop good rapport.
For long term sustainable business,
To produce good business
Avoid judicial actions against the organisation and its employees.
To avoid unfavourable publicity.
Ethics in information Technology by George Reynolds 2nd Edition 1st edition was in 2007.
It is not necessary to quote various statements or examples to make someone understand how developed and advanced the technology is at present. The media imparts the truth to the public using the advanced technology and the transparency is revealed to the society in a fraction of a second. Therefore people have enough time to react for such unethical behaviour or practise as a result such incidents are highlighted significantly than in the past. Thus we can agree with David Rosser, Director CBI expressed in the conference.
David Rosser Commenting about Business reputation . . . .
For example if accountants do not behave ethically and go against, the business rules share holders are will be severally affected.
One of the best examples that can be taken from the business world is about the accountants at Arthur Anderson. Since they did not act with honesty, openness and responsible publication when auditing Enron. As a result, shareholders were harmed, and this said company collapsed, and some Arthur Anderson accountants were held legally liable for their breach of business ethics.
Confidentiality is the most important factor when it comes to attorney ethics. It is recognised by law that the attorney's has a moral responsibility to keep confidential the secrets of its clients.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
The companies that survive today are the companies that are able to find unethical business practises they make and correct them before they fall into trouble. The companies that get caught in unethical business practises spoil their reputation very badly. Walmart is one example that can be taken. The unethical practises that Walmart has done can be named as :-
Does the Author agree with David Rosser's statement
Carefully considering the above facts and the real world examples given in next paragraph one can agree with David Rosser.
In 2008 BBC Panaroma investigated and revealed that foreign suppliers of UK's leading clothing company Primark were using child labour. The news created a serious matter to Primark when people reacted and condemned such actions. Primark had to bear the consequences of its foreign suppliers and the reputation badly damaged. This led Primark to axe 3 suppliers in Southern India, who had subcontracted embroidery and sequence work to unapproved parties who had used child labour. Primark cannot just pass the blame to its suppliers, because there are audit standards in the garment sector that have to be compliance with.
Meantime, if this matter is addressed from the workers' point of view who are in India, can we say it is ethical? No matter whether they are adults or children they lost their way of living. One can ask whether it is ethical for BBC to report this matter and lose the jobs of these poor people. Was Primark concerned of this? Those children may be working to support their families, since countries that have very high population suffer from starvation and poverty. India is also one country with very high population and children even do not have their basic needs. Is it ethical for us to let children to die in starvation or buy or involve in earn their living. In some cases there are situations where there are two sides we have to consider. Brand Republic (17, June 2008)
But the most important factors that we have to look into is that Some ethical issues differ according to each country. An ethical business practise which is applicable to one country may not be ethical to another country. One example we can take from the business world is the Primark issue in 2008.
Having lived in a third world country the author has seen people involved in self employment such as making of brushes, or even plantation
Barry Morgans views about MBA Graduates
The idea of an ethical code was first moot by Harvard Business School. The Archbishop of Wales presses on an ethical business code so that the companies can run the ethically. He finds the necessity that a business code should be there.
Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales says that MBA students should get a oath after graduation similar to the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors. Here he emphasises this since these students are supposed to join into business establishments in the managerial sector. Therefore his intention is to make these students go into society with the correct values in life which leads to Business organisations be able to practise good business ethics.
In America a set of students of the Harvard Business School have created a MBA oath. It has been based on a draft an oath accomplished by Professors Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana in the Harvard Business Review last October with a few changes from these students. By June 08, 2009 50% of
students have been supposed to have signed this oath. They have got a
request to translate the oath into Spanish for the students in Colombia who are doing a MBA programmes there(Harvard Business Review (June 08, 2009)
As the author of this book my opinion of the MBA oath is it is good to have such a oath so that at least the MBA students would think twice before doing any unethical things but what I suggest is that it should have some sort of legal barrier to cancel their legal right of doing business if such discriminating acts are being done. I suggest this because there can be instances where people might take this oath before society but they will do what ever wrong acts when time goes on.
According to Dr. Morgan how can the practises be improved.
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There should be an ethical business code.
Executives have to sign an oath similar to doctors.
MBA Graduates should have an oath.
Recommendations for Future Stretegic Direction of Higher Education
Mr. Morgan further explains that in business people do not consider right and wrong everybody is worried about the financial growth of the company.
I wish to emphasise it is accepted if any misconduct takes place fines be imposed like in excise cases.
Barry Morgan emphasises that the MBA Oath is a must. The author of this book agrees to this statement to some extent. Yes, MBA students are definitely supposed to enter into the higher levels of managerial positions in companies in future. Therefore if every student that passes a MBA should give a oath it emphasises that individuals responsibility towards the society of preventing themselves caught in unethical issues. But this will not work in all instances. There may be people who will take the oath but will get caught to personnel greed and fall into illegal business practises. The author of this book personally feel that in a MBA programme in Business Ethics subject the students should be emphasised that honesty is the best business practise that should be adopted.
The Hippocratic Oath is practical because its a set of rules that all doctors should abide with. Doctors are one category which give the oath after completion in of their education. But in the business world every individual does not do a MBA. There are quite a lot of people who are well talented and run their own business but who are not MBA Graduates. A smaller percentage
includes MBA graduates in a country, Therefore the author argues that this is
not a practical thing for the entire world. Its good to have a MBA Oath. But it far more better to have a license that every company should have to find out whether ethical practises are being carried out. This license should be renewed every year. If any company is liable for any unethical business activity the license should be cancelled so that they will not be able to operate in the business world. It is already available legally to cancel or import fines for misconduct in the legislative inactments..
Accordingly when business generate profit it has to be ethical the way they have generated it.
Therefore it is apparently clear the growing trends in business today, essentially to keep businesses going. Standards are no concern among some people. Hence this leads to competition, is let out. A unhealthy ethical practises are pushed aside. And accountability of good conduct in business is naturally side step purely for immediate benefits. These are the upfront levels prevailing today. Thus business reputation is on a downward trend. As observed by some leaders of the business community they are deeply worried
at a time when a lot is spoken about transparency. Justifying good conduct in business and good business ethics.
The view expressed by Barry Morgan, at the Conference, MBA Graduates to sign a Hippocratic oath on completion of the degree is quite welcome. These prestigious institutions that conduct prestigious standards of transparency and accountability. Healthy business practises in training graduates specially on upfront levels are a means of gaining perfection in what they do, especially for students all over the world. In times of good and bad, in the long run businesses could not crash and would not get cash trapped. Healthy business practises will be important to gaining a license to serve customers and employees.
As bishop Morgan is a church dignitary it is best said 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'
The view of Benjamin Franklin, the American Scientist who invented so many valuable things to this world was that
"It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it" Reputation Management (Accessed on 20.02.2011]
In Sri Lanka as a Managing Director of a Company I had to maintain the highest ethical standards as the the chairman himself was a product of a large business