Business Leaders Get an ‘F’ in Ethics, Yet Again
“But it’s more profitable—and just right—to instill honorable conduct at every level of your company
‘The only people less ethical than business executives are telemarketers, lobbyists, and members of Congress.’
That sounds like something Louis C.K. might say in his stand-up act, but it’s no joke: this is how most Americans responded in a recentGallup poll.
Each year, Gallup asks people to rate the honesty and ethics of a range of professionals. In 2015, nurses again topped the list, followed by pharmacists, physicians, and high school teachers. Journalists, bankers, and building contractors occupied the middle, and, as has been the case for many years, business executives were close to the bottom. …
Poor ethics are no laughing matter
There are over one million responses to a Google search for ‘business ethics jokes.’ …
The reason these jokes work is because they squeeze humor from a nasty truth: Too often, business leaders and the companies they represent take the low road.
When Takata air bag engineer Bob Schubert writes ‘Happy Manipulating!’ in an email to colleagues, or Volkswagen admits to creating technology that would allow its cars to evade clean air rules, the grave risk to the basic tenets of business ethics and simple decency is serious, real, and far from funny.
This may be a strange thing to say in a business publication, but some things are more important than making money. These include not hurting people, being truthful, respecting client confidentiality, and treating employees fairly—the principles of ethics, in other words.”