Is Greed Good?
Reframing Business Education
Another interesting approach has been launched by the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education. Giving Voice to Values, an ethics and leadership curriculum developed by the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, with the support of the Yale School of Management, "focuses on ethical implementation and asks the question: What would I say or do if I were going to act on my values?" Self-assessment, effective ways to raise values-based issues, scripting and practicing values-based conversations, as well as coaching and peer reviews are important distinctive of this innovative approach.
This is just the beginning of a wave of change that is taking place in business education. Business deans and faculties are searching for ways to enrich the moral education that is offered in MBA programs. Creating a Manager's oath is a promising start, as are efforts to broaden the ways we train business leaders. The "new normal" of business has not yet been codified, but one thing seems to be certain -- the purpose of business as defined by Friedman appears to be changing. Maximization of shareholder wealth alone doesn't feel compelling in this day and age, and it certainly doesn't capture the imagination of market participants. With all due respect to fiduciary responsibility to company shareholders, we need something grander, more compelling, and more sustainable. It is time for practitioners and academics, alike, to work together to create and live out such a framework.
[Please note that this is a piece of the Faith@Work Consultation at the Evangelical Gateway: http://evangelical.patheos.com.]
1Scott, Alwyn (2009, May 29). Questions for Jeff Van Duzer. Puget Sound Business Journal Online. Retrieved from http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2009/06/01/story10.html
2(2009, June 4). A Hippocratic Oath for Managers: Forswearing Greed. Economist.com. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/businessfinance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13788418
3Holland, Kelly (2009, March 15). Is It Time to Retrain Business Schools? New York Times Online. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/business/15school.html
4Brooks, Anthony (2009, May 17). Business Schools Mull over Blame in Financial Crisis. National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103719186
5Gilbert, Sarah Jane (2007, November 19). Teaching the Moral Leader. Working Knowledge. Retrieved fromhttp://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5801.html
John Terrill is the Director of The Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University. He earned his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and theological degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. John consulted with the Hay Group, an international human resources consulting firm, co-directed the Open for Business Conference at the Urbana 06 Missions Convention, and served as the National Director for Professional Schools Ministries with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.