Whether talking about individuals or corporations, the character displayed is an important factor in the amount of success that can be achieved. Businesses with a strong moral compass will make ethical decisions that result in the betterment of its employee’s lives, the community and hopefully will enable the business to create a better product.
I must admit that I rewrote this opening many times trying to figure out how to express my feelings about the term character and what it entails. For me, thinking about character, leads me to reflect on how prior to joining the military my character was definitely questionable as I basically made the wrong choices no matter what the decision was. Having served in the military for over 15 years now, my definition of character is now formed by the Navy Core Values – Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These three tenants are the building blocks that currently shape my actions when tough decisions have to be made.
I share these thoughts with you because if I had a tough time making little decisions that affected only me, I can only imagine the amount of pressure a CEO of a large corporation must make on a day-to-day basis.
Corporations are not made to benefit the whole of humanity; rather they are profit ventures that are expected to produce gains for the individuals who invested in them. CEO’s having to be mindful of the bottom line, could feel an immense amount of pressure to take short cuts in order to maintain their successfulness.
“It is important to note that unethical behavior in U.S. business is not a recent phenomenon. Indeed, even before the nation had celebrated its 1876 Centennial, corporations were being charged with substantial misdeeds by both government and society leaders … For instance, by 1870, John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil Company of Ohio, was agreeing secretly with railroads that he would ship his oil with them as long as they provided rebates on their prices, a practice that drove many of Rockefeller's competitors out of business.” (Clement, 2006).
It was probably an easy decision for Rockefeller to secretly join forces with the railroads because it seemed like the smart plan to lower costs, increase company profits and...