Ethics Pays-But Can It Be Taught?

By Spiller, Rodger | New Zealand Management, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Ethics Pays-But Can It Be Taught?


Spiller, Rodger, New Zealand Management


As a personal investment adviser who champions business ethics the first question I am usually asked is whether there is a cost to being ethical. The evidence is that you can do well by doing good. The bottom line is highlighted by academic research in 52 studies (involving 33,000 observations) of the relationship between corporate social and environmental performance and corporate financial performance. The conclusion was that there has been sufficient research to prove a positive association between the two.

More locally, AMP in Australia divided the shares of 350 companies into two equally weighted portfolios according to their ranking for corporate responsibility. Over four years the highly ranked companies outperformed the low ranked companies by five percent, and over 10 years they outperformed by three percent.

Businesses that are ethical leaders attract and retain the best employees, increase sales and customer loyalty, strengthen relationships with suppliers, enhance corporate citizenship and goodwill within the community and perform better financially for shareholders. Ethics clearly is enlightened self-interest for business.

Reflecting this increasing understanding is a strong revival of interest in ethics education. In May 2007, The Economist discussed how in 2002 American business schools in particular took some of the blame for the corporate scandals at firms such as Enron and WorldCom. It was even suggested that, with former Enron boss Jeffrey Skilling a star of the Harvard Business School in 1979, and many other corporate villains boasting MBAs, the way to solve corporate America's ethical problems was to fire everyone under 35 with an MBA!

Post Enron, business schools have started to teach more ethics--for example, the Harvard Business School, has introduced a popular new course in "Leadership and Accountability". The University of Auckland Business School now offers a two-day short course on ethical leadership.

Yet many people wonder whether ethics can be taught. The ethics learned in our youth are not immutably etched in our character. The formation, refinement and modification of a person's ethics--the attitudes and beliefs that motivate conduct--is an ongoing process that continues throughout one's adult life.

The ethical leadership training I offer provides insight to the literature, case studies and examples, opportunities for reflection and a deeper understanding of business practices. It includes creating ethical leadership action plans to improve your triple bottom line. Participants create individual and organisational ethical and sustainable development scorecards as roadmaps for holistic corporate governance and building an ethical corporate culture that engages and inspires staff and other stakeholders. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ethics Pays-But Can It Be Taught?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.