This blog is inspired by a status update on Facebook by one of my past students, Mr. Aravind karthikeyan. The status update goes as follows:
“Recently I visited a B School’s website which boasts about the long list of companies who had come for placements… When I enquired… It was clear to me that the information was totally absurd and incorrect.
My thought here… the same B School teaches Business Ethics, Ethical Marketing, Good Governance and so on …and on… Shouldn’t those BIG SHOTS who are experts in PEDAGOGY SCIENCES AND ITS MANAGEMENT… who prepare these syllabus be a little responsible to ensure at least half they preach and teach are followed by them, in Management practice. ..? Also isn’t the responsibility lies with the management and IT team which puts such fake and unethical information to lure business?
I wish if a student who pays a handsome fee must also get all the rights of a customer…”
Having worked with corporates in different countries and a couple of B-Schools in India, the same thought had glanced through my mind on multiple occasions. I had been wondering about the relevance of teaching Business ethics as a subject in the B-schools for the following reasons:
1. Most of the B-Schools are not following ethical practices.
a. Information is twisted by the management to suit their convenience. For example, most management would promise high class facilities, both academic and infrastructure related, to their prospective students, irrespective of what they actually possess.
b. Placement being one of the most important attraction for students, placement data is manipulated while preparing their brochures and admission presentations. Every institution claims to have 100% placement. Fact of the matter is that most of these so called B-Schools would not have achieved even 70% placements. Add to the fact that majority of the placements made are based on their basic degree qualification rather than their post graduate degree or diploma in management.
c. During the admission process all the management seems to be open minded and responsive to the problems of their students. Within a week students start realizing that nobody really bothers about their problems. Student’s, the major stakeholders of the B-schools, are treated as secondary citizens putting their requirements as last priority.
2. Corporates are not concerned about doing business ethically. For them, targets matter. They seem to follow the age old saying “Result is important and not the path”.
3. Governments does not seem to bother about how corporates make money as long as they are getting their dues, public and legal dues or so called taxes and the personal dues which are collected by ministers as bribes or donations towards party fund.
I believe that ethics and ethical behavior are two sides of a coin. Problem is, since they are on the opposite sides they never get to see each other and hence only a few bother about the relevance of these. When one does things unethically, he/she is standing on the side opposite to ethics and they never happen to see the ethics part of their action. When others do the same, we stand on the side of the ethics and blame them for their deeds.
In statistics, it is taught that, all the theories and hypothesis hold good for coins that are fair. From my understanding of how businesses function, I feel “no coin is fair in business” and hence no rule applies.
If we workout the skewness of ethics, it will always be tilted towards unethical. When we happen to see this repeat in most of the actions this becomes statistically relevant within 2 or 3 sigma level that we start accepting the results as true and valid.
Only solution to the problem is to provide results that will reduce the skewness towards the ethical behavior side. This can be done only through individual actions. If one individual is ethical he/she should be able to influence a couple of others and if this chain reaction continues, one might see the society becoming ethical or getting to tend towards ethical.
Its high time we stood up for ethical behavior so that our younger generations do not get a chance to debate over the same topic.