The Advanced Curriculum

A Short Course in Ethics

Aristotle, who may have invented this problem

Ethics is a very boring subject, and I take a huge risk in presenting it to you at the end of your Advanced Studies. It is classically the last thing they teach you in established business academies, where the subject is preceded by the widest variety of ways to fuck people over while smiling: Oh yeah, don’t forget about your ethics.

But...

It is simply important to know that matters of ethics and morality are not easy for the organization, either. What may seem complex but comprehensible to the individual may pose an impossible conundrum for the larger entity. There’s a cost for “doing the right things” as well as the wrong ones. What if the decent thing to do will send the stock into a swoon? What’s good for you may not be good for the company, and vice versa.

In short, you, your peers, and your organization are all in this together. The company is juggling regulatory questions, the threat of bad publicity, and the immediate punishment that Wall Street may inflict on any corporation that does a right thing that doesn’t return immediate gratification to the almighty investor and their representatives. You, on the other hand, have to wrestle with your own ambitions, and the expectations of those who rely on you.

Finding your way to some ethical comfort level as you go about your business life will be one of the great challenges you will face going forward. Good luck with it. Don’t expect perfection unless you become a rock star of one kind or another with all the time and money in the world.

 

For further information on the lessons contained here, refer to The Curriculum: Everything You Need To Know To Be A Master of Business Arts.

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