Business Ethics Training » General Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:28:27 +0000 en hourly 1 Are they teaching business ethics at Google? /are-they-teaching-business-ethics-at-google.html /are-they-teaching-business-ethics-at-google.html#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2010 00:44:28 +0000 admin /?p=39 When the news about Google giving an ultimatum to China came out, I was quite shocked. Was this is a genuine change of heart from the search engine giant or did it have something to do with its competitor Baidu?

I’ve thought about this and I genuinely think that Google decided that they would no longer sacrifice globally accepted values in order to gain a foothold in China. That has to be applauded. However there’s too much of a gray area to accurately pinpoint what exactly was the motive – or was it a combination of motives?

One thing is clear, Google wouldn’t throw in the towel so quickly. With its search engine technology and being a global brand, it has no reason not to wait it out. Even if expectations were not being met, Google could easily hold on. It would have no problem convincing employees, shareholders, and everybody else because of the huge size of the Chinese market.

That leads us to the second point. Take a look at the figures of Chinese internet users and the swiftly rising middle class. For confirmation you can read Martin Jacques’ book “When China Rules the World” if you are in doubt. Why would Google do such a thing – unless something went really awry – it seems Google is really trying to make a stand.

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$20 Million Shopping Spree on the Company Tab /20-million-shopping-spree-on-the-company-tab.html /20-million-shopping-spree-on-the-company-tab.html#comments Fri, 25 Dec 2009 21:46:52 +0000 admin /?p=22 You might have headphones or compact-disc recordings from Koss – a company based in Wisconsin. They just found out that their VP of Finance, allegedly spent a huge amount (current estimates say $20 million+) from the company account on shopping: furs, clothing, jewelry, home decor and more.

The estimated amount of $20 million is about 100 times,  Sujata Sachdeva’s 2008 compensation which was around $200K.

Just unraveling this thing will be a huge mess. It will be a beast to tangle not to mention that if this went on for some years (news reports are estimating it was 4 years in the making) then other small primarily family owned companies that are thinly traded like Koss might have similar issues that have yet to surface.

Koss would certainly appear to be an exception with such a huge amount but it says something about financial controls at other firms. Perhaps a hundred baby Enrons in the making.

Its not fair to say that business ethics training would have averted such a financial disaster – but along with tighter controls – such embezzlement might have been corrected earlier and at lower cost.

With such a high unemployment rate you don’t want companies laying honest employees off and shutting its doors because of the actions of one executive. But that’s what one executive can do if given the reins in such an unchecked way as we seem to have in this case.

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Banker’s Remorse /bankers-remorse.html /bankers-remorse.html#comments Thu, 24 Dec 2009 15:35:21 +0000 admin /?p=20 In today’s Financial Times – there is an analysis on page 7, titled “Of greed and creed” – and talks about that more bankers are questioning the ethics of their work.

Among the most questionable actions were the toxic investments that were passed on to investors and millions and millions were made by “packaging” and “bundling” these transactions. The steps before and after such shams led to the eventual collapse of the world economy which has yet to recover.

Now on the cusp of 2010 – so many workers find themselves without a job and without any prospects for a job. The US with its real unemployment rate (including the people who have given up looking and those who have taken part-time/freelance opportunities to pay atleast some of the bills) is at 17%+

An interesting point made in the FT article was that “banking has always attracted moral controversy” this is because the basis of modern-day finance is lending at interest – where the lender really doesn’t have any interest in whether you prosper or not, they will get their money as was evident when so many homeowners could not pay their mortgages and the taxpayers came to the rescue. Its about time to develop a more ethical banking system – one based on profit sharing (read: shared interests).

A silver lining from all this is a quote that is highlighted in the article: “Most people want to do a good job. There is an increased desire to look at the ethics of what they do.”

This is very important and can be the foundation stone from which we build better banks, better corporations and better institutions. For that to happen we need to be fair with all – have a system that is based on merit and intertwines the interests of all rather than stacking the cards all on one side.

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Towards Better Corporate Governance and Accountability /hello-world.html /hello-world.html#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2009 19:51:13 +0000 admin /?p=1 When you think of business ethics – the first thing that comes to mind is that will following ethical workplace practice affect the bottom line? If you are an employee then the question would be, will this impact my career? Will my sales performance be hit?

Since this is my first post on the topic – I want to just focus on one word: Trust. In the workplace of the future – with everybody competing for more business, and fierce challenges in the face of recessions and depressions – trust will win out over the rest.

If there is trust in you as an individual and if there is trust in your organization you will have credibility that will positively influence your bottom line.

You want to make “gaining the trust of your market, of your competitors” a top priority. You want to play fair – to ensure a level playing field where winners are chosen on merit instead of internal politics, bribes, kickbacks, favors, you name it.

We’ll evaluate case studies, discuss the challenges, and how we can be better trained to perform ethically and morally in our workplaces.

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