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Ethics at workplace- the Enron saga
Human Resources » Ethics & Values

Chrm Message From: madure Total Posts: 278 Join Date: 06/06/2006
Rank: Coach Post Date: 05/07/2006 19:09:36 Points: 1440 Location: Sri Lanka

Having no desire to see their graduates involved in Enronlike scandals, area business schools have made ethics more of a priority in recent years.

Drexel University's LeBow College of Business established the Center for Corporate Governance last year, in part to focus on ethics. It now requires that ethics be integrated into all courses.

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School last year changed the name of its department of legal studies to the department of legal studies and business ethics. About two years ago, it started a doctoral program in business ethics.

Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management now has mandatory ethics courses for both undergraduates and M.B.A. students. It makes a point of exposing students to business leaders who have been convicted of white-collar crimes.

"Business schools have a central role in assuring that we are preparing the ethical leaders for the future...," said James M. Danko, dean of the College of Commerce and Finance at Villanova University, which is asking professors to discuss ethics whenever possible.

"You can't put the bottom line ahead of doing what's right, and clearly that's what happened at a place like Enron."

Students need more than just one course in ethics. "What you need to do," Danko said, "is bring it to life in each discipline."

Ralph Walkling, executive director of Drexel's Center for Corporate Governance, said students had been listening.

"I think that student ears are more open today," he said. "In fact, the community's ears are more open because of the Enron scandal. But the issues have been around forever."

Walkling said good corporate governance was about more than compliance and regulation. "It's leadership to create value," he said. "Ethics is a very important component of that. Business leaders are always confronted with situations in which it appears they can cut corners and make a few bucks more. At least in my experience, doing the right thing is the best course of action."

Rajan Chandran, vice dean of the Fox School, said business students were exposed to ethics each year. They start with personal ethics because faculty members believe that people who break big rules often start by breaking smaller ones - such as cheating in class - and getting away with it. Later, ethics is discussed in each discipline.

Finally, students meet white-collar criminals, who describe what prison is like. It might be too late for the school to instill morality in students, Chandran said, but it can help them understand the consequences of unethical behavior.

Enron founder Kenneth Lay has just died of a heart attack. He faced the prospect of the rest of his life in prison. Enron's Vice President who was unable to face the scandal, committed suicide immediately after the exposure. When your outer show and inner core are in conflict you could be in great danger.

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