20 Apr ETHICS… what about them?
Well, our dear friend Calvin sure has his own take on the question. He thinks it’s a dog-eat-dog world where the ends justify the means. But as Hobbes very intelligently displays, most of us tend to have a very one-sided and selfish stand on how the rules of ethics apply in our world. Most people, at least in the corporate world, believe that the ends do justify the means, even if that includes trampling on values and principles. Numerous incidents of “unethical behaviour” in the workplace keep on reminding us that as the world becomes more and more competitive, “ethics” and “values” and “fair-play” are being brought down from their high alters and being replaced by cut-throat competition and rampant exploitation and bending/breaking of the so called “code of conduct”.
In my opinion, ethics at the workplace have a lot to do with corporate governance. Irrespective of how small or how big your company is, governance is something that must be seriously addressed by people who not just understand its value but are obsessed with the philosophy of creating a workplace environment where business is done professionally and within the boundaries of fair-play. If the powers that be in an organization always look for short-cuts and try to grow by misusing the faith that their customers and employees have placed on them, a time will come when they will come crashing down to earth just as fast as they were flying through the stratosphere.
Quite often, during casual discussions between friends and colleagues, we come across a common line of thought… “Does the current generation of professionals which will one day be in positions of leadership really believe in ethics any more?”. In my experience, I would say there’s a mix of both groups of people – those who strongly subscribe to the belief that business must be conducted ethically and also those who don’t give two hoots about ethics and principles as long as they get what they want. It has been my observation that while the first group has, at times, had a slower and tougher ride to the top, they have stayed there much longer and with much more respect and adulation than those who have taken the shorter and not so “clean” route. “Success at all costs” is a mantra that has the potential to destroy the very fabric of our business culture. I would like to see more and more young professionals paying due attention to ethical business instead of adopting a method of hollow and value-less career progression. The coming times will tell whether my wishes are answered.