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Institute For Enterprise Ethics | Elevate Ethics 2015

Quarterly Ethics Review

Quarterly Ethics Review is a roundup of the previous quarter's newsworthy stories about corporate and business ethics. It is moderated by the Institute's Director, Dan Sweeney, and features a panel of three Daniels College of Business faculty. This lively discussion offers unique insights on the issues facing businesses and business people through a lens of ethics and fair play.

Click here to view the most recent episode.

 

“Tycoons to the Barricades?"

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Billioanaires to the Barricades

Why Should Billionaires be concerned about the disparities in wealth and income in the developed world?  Well, some of them are. “It is unfair and it is not sustainable” said billionaire merchandising mogul Johann Rupert in front of the crowd at the “luxury summit” in Monaco.

Private equity investor Paul Tudor said in a recent TED talk the divide between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent “cannot and will nor persist." Alan Feuer had more to say about these new wealthy champions of egalitarianism in the New York Times on Sunday, July 5.

Click here to read a complete article in the New York Times.

Individual vs. Institutional Ethics

Enterprise Ethics | Group Ethics

The typical perception of power and unethical behavior is the powerful person forcing his or her wishes on the powerless minions against their will. Recent research by Professor Jessica Kennedy of Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate school of Management and reported in Strategy+Business suggests that it may in fact be just the opposite.

Her research and the research of others have found that high ranking individuals tend to identify more strongly with the group and are therefore more likely to go along with the group’s recommendation even if that recommendation suggest actions that are unethical. It may not be “tone at the top” but “tone at the middle” that actually carries the day.


 

What's New

Amazon's "Intense" Working Culture

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Comment on Amazon's Culture
"It's the greatest place I hate to work." That's how one former Amazon employee described his employer in a New York Times article on the Amazon's culture. An oft-repeated line from Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO, calls the Amazon's culture “friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for intense.”

In a follow-up NYT article based on thousands of comments on the original piece some writers "defended the culture as highly demanding but humane, while others described feeling pummeled by unrelenting demands and a feeling they could never meet the standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.”

So, what do you think Amazon really is: “a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard,” as Mr. Bezos accused the Times of describing the company? Or “an incredibly compelling place to work,” as Jay Carney described Amazon to CBS This Morning?

A Really Good Idea: The Chief Culture Officer



Who in your organization is you “chief culture officer”? In most organizations no one is seen as the “chief culture officer” much less have that title. Many will say it’s the company’s CEO, managing the culture rarely shows up on the CEO’s job description, much less in her compensation plan.

In some organizations it seems like the Director of Communications is the “chief culture officer” since he is the sources of all of the verbiage, posters, placards and 3x5 cards touting the company’s culture. So, who should be your Chief Culture Officer? Bob and Greg Vanourek, coauthors of Triple Crown Leadership make a strong case that it should be the Chief Human resources Officer. Click here and see what you think.

Walking the Walk

Enterprise Ethics | Patagonia and PETA

Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia said on August 24, 2015 that it has stopped buying wool from the Ovis 21 network of farms in Argentina. The decision comes after U.S. animal rights activists from PETA released video of workers at these farms slashing and stabbing lambs with knives while they were still alive. "Patagonia will not buy wool again until we can assure our customers of a verifiable process that ensures the humane treatment of animals.”

"PETA praises the new move, as 'all steps are good steps,' but cautions that as Patagonia delves deeper into the wool supply chain, it will find that cruelty will always be a part of wool production."

Patagonia has built their brand on ethical business practices, sustainability, and their customer-focus. Their response to the PETA videos that went viral on social media, was swift and decisive. When you hold your company up as a beacon of "how to do it right," then you need to walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk

Is the SEC going too far?

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Securities and Exchange commission.

Is the S.E.C. pushing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act too far, turning it into a vehicle for policing long-accepted practices in the business and political arenas? The answer depends on whether the law should focus only on more traditional forms of bribery, or should be used to police business ethics. Read more.

Can Bankers (Be Made to) Behave?
Business Ethics | Can Bankers Behave?

William D. Cohan, author of House Cards and Money and Power and contributor to many major periodicals on topics of finance and Wall Street wrote a powerful piece in the May 2015 edition of The Atlantic magazine addressing just this question – “Can bankers Behave?” His answer appears to be yes, but it’s not likely. Cohan asks if “Wall Street’s deepest flaws (might) be cultural, promulgated over generations by leaders who have chosen to reward those who cut corners, stab colleagues in the back and engage in otherwise unethical behavior?”.


To read more click here.

Strategic Partners

NetImpact's mission is tNetImpact | University of Denvero cultivate a community of Daniel's College of Business students and professionals dedicated to using business as a platform for creating positive social, environmental, and financial impact.

Strategic Partners

National Association of Corporate Directors | Colorado Chapter

The vision of the National Association of Corporate Directors is to develop the best educated directors with a focus on skills, ethics and leadership.  Their mission is to provide real learning and quality networking for directors and board engaged “C” suite officers and to be the voice for the director.

 

About the Institute

The Institute for Enterprise Ethics was established at the Daniel's College of Business as the vehicle to extend the College’s expertise and resources in business ethics to the practitioner community of executives, officers and directors of commercial and social enterprises in the region.

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