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  • 1. TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS: MY EXPERIENCES Presented by Prof. S. Manikutty Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad 6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 2. Business Ethics? What is that?
    • The first question that is asked (or is in the minds of the students)
    • Can businesses be run ethically at all?
    • Can businesses be better off being ethical?
    • What is the role of the top management is setting the stage for the ethical climate in an organization?
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 3. Ethical Dilemmas rather than answers
    • Clearly in many situations, the decisions taken by managers are plain wrong and unethical.
    • But in most others, there are dilemmas involved, tradeoffs.
    • The shareholder value maximization hypothesis is plain wrong and dangerous.
    • A legacy of the theory of the firm and Friedman’s famous assertion
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 4. Pulpit talking does not help
    • Putting the ethical issues as a pulpit talk does not work.
    • Students must be forced to make choices in difficult situations and defend them.
    • The instructor’s own ethical position needs to be withheld.
    • Students need to be given a feel for the tradeoffs that are involved.
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 5. What are these tradeoffs?
    • Shareholders vs. customers
    • Shareholders vs. employees
    • Dealing with competition
    • Firm and its environment
    • Shareholders vs. community and society
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 6. The Firm and its customers
    • Areas of tradeoffs:
      • Pricing
      • Quality
      • Disclosures about the features of the product
      • Defective products
      • Advertising and promotion
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 7. Firm and its employees
    • Fair dealing with regard to wages and service conditions
    • Policies regarding conflicts of interest
    • Policies regarding illegal gratification
    • Policies regarding whistle blowing
    • Privacy of employees
    • Gender issues, esp. harassment
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 8. Dealing with competition
    • Pricing
    • Advertising
    • Poaching
    • Intelligence gathering
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 9. Firm and its environment
    • Pollution
    • Depletion of resources
    • Today vs. tomorrow
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 10. The firm, its community and society
    • Degradation of the community: it must not be worse off as a result of the firm’s entry
    • Industrial accidents
    • Issues in land acquisition
    • Ethical treatment of animals
    • Can firms shape attitudes in society?
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 11. How do you resolve these tradeoffs?
    • Can there be a formula?
    • At the end of the day, decisions of these kinds are made by individuals, and hence the need for an ethical value system for managers
    • Beyond the legal aspects
    • Creation of an enabling culture and systems
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 12. Pedagogies
    • In my experience, outlining theories and asking which is the most ethical decision is generally not very useful.
    • Cases can be used very effectively, but they must bring out the dilemmas involved. Such cases are not easy to come by.
    • In other cases (in various courses), the ethical issues involved could be highlighted, but my experience is that it is very difficult to make other instructors to bring in the ethical dimension into their classes.
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 13. Pedagogies
    • Simulations can be quite revealing provided that they are conducted and interpreted by experienced trainers.
    • I have found delving into literature and humanities very useful. This is very useful also in developing the individual.
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 14. Development of the individual
    • Ultimately, there is no escape from the need to develop individuals and their value systems.
    • Business schools can and should play an active role in this. After all, they are in the business of education.
    • Their job is not to build expertise in one theory or discipline, but to develop the ability to understand and appreciate other viewpoints.
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 15. Pedagogy
    • It is here that I find literature especially valuable. They tell you about human nature.
    • Students must be given enough time to reflect, and debate in the class. The instructor’s role as a facilitator becomes crucial.
    6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore
  • 16. THANK YOU! 6-7 January, 2012 Workshop on Management Education, Coimbatore