Business Conduct and Integrity
"Business Ethics" is an Oxymoron (That is, to Firms that Don't Plan to be Around Too Long)
We've identified six common fallacies under which many managers and executives operate and which place their organizations in the danger zone for ethical, regulatory, legal, and reputational problems. One of the most pernicious of the fallacies is that "business ethics is an oxymoron."
Why is that a fallacy? It's simple: Human life is completely enmeshed in ethical considerations. That a key metric of success is profit (in the case of the business firm) makes no difference. No endeavor, institution, or undertaking can turn out well without concern for others as human beings, whether they are wearing the hat of citizen, employee, customer, or client.
All organizations exist to serve others, not themselves, and business firms are no different. None can be wholly inward-looking, focused only on its own needs rather than on the needs of others, and not pay a price. And no organization can optimize its success if it does not earn the trust of those it serves.
Business executives and managers must be concerned about much more than short-term profits. They must maintain an appropriate level of concern for all stakeholders (customers, clients, employees, vendors, and the non-human and human environments which they impact), and operate their organizations for the long-run.
BGEI can help create and, just as important, maintain an annual ethics program that addresses the need to take all stakeholders' interest into consideration, a program that keeps all relevant codes and policies fresh, and BGEI can help to educate employees in targeted, non-intrusive modalities throughout the year -- something crucial for maintaining a culture of ethics and compliance.
Ethics cannot be a one-and-done consideration. Ethics programs must be integrated into decision-making at all levels, and be living and intelligently administered in order to be effective and in order to demonstrate to all stakeholders, to regulators, and to relevant media that the firm is interested in protecting its long-term mission.