The Many Interpretations of Ethics

Bangalore India Chapter

Kumar Srikant, PMP, is an educator/trainer in Bangalore.

We are in a digital world; we are also in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. We live in times of rapid change, intensely overloaded with information. But where are we with reference to the age-old subject of ethics, especially professional and business ethics? Do well-informed corporate leaders and professionals hold themselves to consistent ethical standards of the highest order? Or, blissfully ignorant, do they conveniently define their own ethics and morality?

Some widely known ethical scandals from the early 21st century include those involving the Enron Corporation and WorldCom. Here are some more recent ethical quagmires:

  • Equifax, the credit reporting giant, disclosed one of the worst data breaches in September 2017, with the information of 145 million people compromised. Equifax was aware of the system flaw for months that hackers took advantage of, and the firm waited for two months before disclosure. The regulators have been investigating huge insider trading in shares.
  • Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, shockingly announced in late 2016 that it had fired 5,300 workers for creating millions of fake accounts over a number of years. This was due to highly unrealistic sales goals by the top management. The company has been fined $185 million by regulatory bodies.
  • One more big ethics story is that of Volkswagen. The …

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"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT's relativity."

- Albert Einstein

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