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Business Ethics in the New Millennium: Will the Patient Survive?

  • W. Michael Hoffman and Dawn-Marie Driscoll

Abstract:

To date, the business ethics movement has mainly concentrated on reaching the troops, not the generals. But the issue that will determine how well this movement succeeds in the opening decades of the new millennium is not how we drive ethics and compliance programs down an organization, but how we integrate considerations of ethics and values up in an organization. We must broaden the present group of business ethics advocates by enlisting influential policymakers, opinion leaders, the media, boards of directors, CEOs, investment bankers, international economic experts, and others who comprise what we might call the International Club of Thinkers and Doers. The key to ethical health in the future is a process that will drive integrity-based leadership and governance to the top of our global business organizations, with a goal to achieving global and universal standards of fundamental ethical values.

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1 William T. Allen, “Independence, Integrity and the Governance of Institutions,” Director’s Monthly, January 1998, p. 13.

2 For further discussion see the four-part series by Nicholas Kristof with Edward Wyatt, “Global Contagion, a Narrative,” The New York Times, February 15–18, 1999, p. A1.

3 William Echikson, “It’s Time for the EC to Tackle Corruption,” Business Week, January 25, 1999; Associated Press, “All Commissioners of European Union Give Resignations,” The New York Times, March 16, 1999, p. A1; Roger Cohen, “Telling Details in Report That Felled European Group,” The New York Times, March 18, 1999, p. A10.

4 See Meryl Davids, “Global Standards, Local Problems,” Journal of Business Strategy, Jan/Feb 1999, pp. 38–43.

5 The Salt Lake Tribune provided extensive global coverage of the unfolding scandal of the International Olympics Committee, including background information about the IOC and past Olympics. The Tribune’s archives are accessible at <www.sltrib.com>

6 Facts, figures, and stories of runaway CEO pay can be found at the AFL-CIO’s web site, <www.afl-cio.org/paywatch>. Two books of note are Derek Bok, The Cost of Talent: How Executives and Professionals Are Paid and How It Affects America (New York: The Free Press, 1993); and Robert A. G. Monks and Nell Minow, Watching the Watchers: Corporate Governance for the 21st Century (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996).

7 Frederick B. Bird and James A. Waters, “The Moral Muteness of Managers,” California Management Review, Fall 1989, pp. 73–88.

8 Guy Boulton, “SLOC Gets Blindsided By Scandal,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 13, 1998.

9 Mike Carter, “IOC Official Criticizes SLOC for Scholarships,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 1998.

10 Associated Press, “Oly Officials Around Globe Scurry in Wake of Scandal,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 27, 1999.

11 Guy Boulton, “We Played By the Rules, Says Bid Committee,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 16, 1999.

12 Michael Shari, Pete Engardio, and Sheri Prasso, “What Did Mobil Know?” Business Week, December 28, 1998, pp. 68–74.

13 Information about the involvement of corporations in human rights abuses can be found at Human Rights Watch, <www.hrw.org>

14 James Bovard, “Archer Daniels Midland: A Case Study in Corporate Welfare,” Cato Policy Analysis No. 241, September 26, 1995. Reports of the Cato Institute can be found at <www.cato.org>

15 For information about corporate welfare, see <www.enviroweb.org/enviroissues/corporate/welfare>, as well as <www.commoncause.org>. The Boston Globe’s three-part series on corporate welfare was published on July 7, 1996. A similar seven part series in The Philadelphia Inquirer was published on June 4, 1995. Time magazine’s four part series on corporate welfare began on November 9, 1998.

16 Glen Warchol, “Olympic Family Expects to Be Treated Lavishly,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 19, 1999.

17 For Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization, see <www.transparency.de>. The International Business Ethics Institute can be found at <www.business-ethics.org>

18 See Dawn-Marie Driscoll and W. Michael Hoffman, “Hark Corporate Director: ‘Tis the Call of Ethical Leadership,” Ethics Today 3, no. 1 (1998): 5.

19 John Brookes, “SA 8000: Workplace Values,” Director’s Monthly, October 1998, p. 13.

20 For information see <www.cmahq.com>

21 For information see <www.cauxroundtable.org>

22 Global Environment and Technology Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy/ Federal Energy Technology Center, “The ISO 14000 Information Guide,” Annandale, Va. See also <www.iso14000.net>

23 Nancy Zucker Boswell, “The Status of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery,” International Business Ethics Review 3, no. 1 (1999): 1, 7–11; Susan Kavanagh, “OECD Anti-Bribery Convention Implemented,” Federal Ethics Report, February 1999, pp. 8–11.

24 Glenn R. Simpson, “Rev. Sullivan, Apartheid Foe, Helps U.S. Write Anticorruption Code for Business,” The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 1999, p. A16.

Business Ethics in the New Millennium: Will the Patient Survive?

  • W. Michael Hoffman and Dawn-Marie Driscoll

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