Ethics, according to Merriam-Webster is an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior; a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong.
Left to Right: Richard Ebeling, PhD and Marianne Jennings, J.D.
Ethics makes for good business. Yet, most companies do not take the necessary steps to create a culture of ethics that governs their decision making. Companies claim to know what they are supposed to do. Most have written codes of ethics, classes and employee training in the subject matter, yet there is a huge gap between what should be and what actually happens.
Most employees say that the codes of ethical conduct set by their companies have little impact on their making ethically correct choices. It is the examples set by leadership and the actual culture of a company that influences their actions. The lack of ethics in quite a few financial institutions was a critical factor in the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent bailouts cost taxpayers billions.
So how do you take ethics from theory to practice?
Experts on ethics and business moral codes:
- Marianne Jennings, J.D.: Professor Emeritus Arizona State University Ethical and Legal Studies, author of The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse; commended as a top 100 thought leader on ethics and one of the most influential people in ethics by Ethics Magazine, and
- Richard Ebeling, PhD: Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at the Citadel, former President of the Foundation for Economic Education and V. P. Future of Freedom Foundation
Professor Jennings and Dr. Ebeling join host, Dennis McCuistion, to discuss how the lack of transparency and ethics in banks and corporations greatly contributed to the financial crisis and what must be done to instill an ethical culture.
Left to Right: Richard M. Bowen, Cary Maguire, and Niki McCuistion
All agree, if there are regulations, rules and money to be made, chances are people will find loopholes. Something can be legal but not ethical. The model in some financial institutions was quantity not quality. Business has a choice. They can stay ethical or look for loopholes. Unfortunately, too many banks looked for loopholes, rewarded greed, and violated moral codes.
The program also features a short interview on ethics with Cary Maguire (Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU), who funded the National Center for Policy Analysis’ Financial Crisis Initiative . Mr. Maguire was recently honored with the inaugural “Cary M. Maguire Spirit of Ethics” award presented by The Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards. This is a a new level of recognition to a company that demonstrates and champions above-and-beyond ethical practices.
Our experts discuss the steps that can be taken to implement the culture of ethics and transparency that may well prevent a financial debacle of the magnitude of 2008.
As always we keep talking about things that matter… with people who care. And please don’t forget that for the last 26 years it’s you, our viewer, who keeps us on the air.
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Executive Producer, Producer
Business Consultant / Executive Coach, specializing in Organizational Culture Change, Governance and Strategic Planning
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