1. How does the teaching of values and business ethics compare from that of a generation ago to today and what role has the media played in enhancing these ethics and values?

In the first reading on business ethics, the authors claim that there is much cynicism amongst students in regards to the investment banking industry. One study even cited that have of the students taking the study had less trust in big business following the 2008 financial crises. With that said, one has to ask the question if the 2008 financial crises and the various scandals preceding it throughout the 2000s have led to an increased focus on business ethics being taught in the classroom. Furthermore, one has to also look at the role the media has played in projecting theses business ethics and values. Consequently, I believe that there has been an increased focus on business ethics being taught in the classroom to the modern generation of students. One reason why this has occurred is because of the various real life examples of fraud and economic debacles that have taken place over the past decade. These examples are being widely disseminated in classrooms to students in order to further illustrate proper business ethics and values one is supposed to apply in the investment banking world. If this wasn’t enough, the media has played an integral role in promoting these values through continually running stories on the newest case of economic collapse or malpractice taking place on Wallstreet. As a result of this increased focus on business ethics, the reading indirectly argues through citing several studies that the modern generation of students have developed a keen awareness of the role business ethics plays in a business environment.

2. As discussed in class it is common for people to think that the change that is occurring during their life time has been unprecedented in history. With that said, how does C. Wright Mills view how people should look at their circumstances in life?

It is common nowadays to look at one’s situation and the world surrounding him or herself and think that things have changed to much to compare with any other day or age. I myself have at times thought that the pace of groundbreaking events I have witnessed in my lifetime have not and will not be seen again. However, C. Wright Mills argues that one has to go beyond the scope of looking at one’s situation by just looking at modern circumstances. Throughout history, individuals have developed similar patterns in the way they live their lives. In addition, individuals have developed similar patterns on how they view their lives. Thus, one of C. Wright Mills’ main points is that one must develop the sociological imagination that in his words “enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (Mills, 6). Hence, one must find a common ground between one’s current situation and history in order to develop a proper view of society.Is the rate at which world events are occurring so fast that ethics and values applied to every day life are not catching up?

3. Is the rate at which change occurring in the business world so fast that ethics and values applied to every day life are not catching up?

Someone once said that change is the only constant in our lives. With that said, whether it occurs at a fast or slow pace drastically affects how people or entities are able to adapt to change. Thus, the rate of change in big business has occurred at such a quick rate over the past 20 years that large corporations and their employees have had to constantly adapt and overcome these changes in order to remain competitive in their respective industries. As a result, several of these corporations and employees have increasingly sought to ignore ethics in order to adapt to these changes more swiftly. However, as John S. McCallum states in his article “Adapt or Die”, large corporations often forget that it is impossible to adapt to rapid changes in the business world without taking the proper small steps and applying ethics. In his article, McCallum argues that the technology boom over the past twenty years has increased the amount of financial products and the rate at which they can be offered. As a result, he states that change in the business world is occurring at an unprecedented rate. However, he does suggest that it is realistic and profitable to adapt to these changes through taking several steps, two of which are the proper small steps and the application of business ethics.


4 responses »

  1. laf024 says:

    I think you raised a good point in question 1. If you really think about the past and the lack of media response to such scandals, you’ll realize that people didn’t know business ethics was important because they didn’t know scandals were happening. I agree that media has definitely increased awareness of business ethics and has helped develop a platform to teach to younger generations. Isn’t it true that we learn from the past? This is a prime example of that statement. Now that the media constantly covers fraud and scandals, it provides an opportunity for younger generations to be taught about business ethics in hopes of changing the future. Our future CEOs and leaders are currently learning to practice positive business ethics in an environment where chnge is needed.

  2. cjt017 says:

    I think your point in question 3 is interesting. I guess whether or not I agree with the “adapt or die” concept is contigent on how one would define ethics. When I think of ethics I think of common sense intrinsic in a average person(conscience). If that is our definition what do corporations have to catch up to? However, if your definition is the continual enviromental/work laws I can see what you mean when you discussed how corporations can’t keep up with ethics.

  3. mbc014 says:

    In response to your first question, I think the media is largely to blame for the overwhelming cynicism infecting all areas of American society, particularly business. If students everywhere are studying ethics, if corporations left and right are giving back to community and doing their best to better society, why continue to bombard the public with negativity constantly? Is that really all that sells? I have found in my experience most people are weary of the dark overtones set to everything occurring in the world these days. Would it really kill you to look for the good in people and publish more of that? Or does it just not align with your “unbiased” reporting?

  4. ajc028 says:

    In response to your third question, I think another element to business’s changing response towards ethical business practices comes out of the fact that new rules and regulations and subjects to teach can only occur after an unethical decision has been made. I think this is the reason why the teaching of business ethics is so slow. We only started learning about the dangers of accounting fraud after the Enron scandal. So, naturally, ethics cannot evolve at the same rate of business. The unethical practices need to be studied first, and solutions and preventative measures need to be created before they can be taught in the classroom and in the business world.

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