Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Smart People Do Unethical Things: What's Behind Another Year of Corporate Scandals

Fairly old, but interesting, article via Knowledge@Wharton.
Donaldson says two triggers sometimes cause scandals to be uncovered and brought to public attention.  One is a depressed economic environment coming on the heels of a period of euphoria; think of the 1930s, which followed the Roaring ‘20s, or today’s scandals, the details of which began to emerge after the high-flying ‘90s fell apart and stock values plummeted in 2000. “As the level of the lake lowers,” he says, “you start to see the wrecks as they come to be exposed.”
The second trigger can be innovations in technology or financial instruments. “We have seen the same phenomenon in business that happens in medical ethics,” notes Donaldson. “When you get a new technology, like in-vitro fertilization, you have new problems because public morality hasn’t wrapped its arms around the mysterious new arrival.”

No comments:

Post a Comment