August 06, 2014
Business and Religion
IPS Integration Essay
Cognate/Career Synthesis Paper:
Incorporating a Christian Worldview
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
EDU 400: Capstone
06 August 2014
Business and Religion Synthesis:
Incorporating a Christian Worldview
Incorporating a more Christian worldview would be largely beneficial to a range of careers as such a perspective can help guide all endeavors along a more moralistic path. The last decade or so has brought us some of the most staggering corporate scandals that the human race has ever known. These were scandals which crippled the economy and which brought the nation to untold amounts of financial struggle and unhappiness. To this day, the government and private businesses are still working manically hard to dig the country out of a completely destructive great recession. The more we understand how such corporate scandals were started and enabled in the first place, the better prepared we are in avoiding them in the future. These corporate scandals can be best understood by 1Timothy 6:10 which speaks of greed as the love of money: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (NIV). Greed, as defined by the love of money, was what was responsible for the corporate scandals of the last ten years and caused the nation along with those engaged in such greed, with tremendous grief and a multitude of grief. Preventing greed via preventing the love of money in the business world is one of the most important goals when it comes to preventing another corporate scandal.
The Bernie Madoff pyramid scheme was one of the biggest corporate scandals of the 2000s and it demonstrated that greed not only had no bounds, but that it could be truly catastrophic, damaging even those closest to the Madoff family. The Madoff pyramid scheme crashed the New York stock exchange, a hole that the entire nation is trying to recover from. The destruction that was waged on the Madoff family was tragic, again showing the world that greed would even go after its own. The Madoff pyramid scheme is a cautionary tale in business, one which shows the world how greed is a manifestation of evil, and how evil will triumph when good people do nothing. Much mystique has surrounded Bernie Madoff since the scandal occurred and many have seen that greed is in fact a tremendously debilitating force. Thus when people ask, who is Bernie Madoff? "An easy answer is that Mr. Madoff was a charlatan of epic proportions, a greedy manipulator so hungry to accumulate wealth that he did not care whom he hurt to get what he wanted" (Creswell & Thomas). An examination of Madoff's strategy does show that as motivated by greed he was extremely calculating. Experts have documented that back when his illegitimate business practices began; Madoff had spent much time in Washington. This was strategic: he wanted to get close to regulators. As one individual explained, "He [Madoff] was smart in understanding very early on that the more involved you were with regulators, you could shape regulation... But, if we find out that the Ponzi scheme goes back that far, then he was doing something much smarter. If you're very close with regulators, they're not going be looking over your shoulders that much" (Creswell & Thomas).
Another devastating aspect of greed which demonstrates the obligation of good people to prevent such greed of epic proportions is that it can apparently exist without remorse. Without remorse there is no hope for change. Madoff has gone on the record numerous times from prison, saying "'F--- my victims, I carried them for 20 years" (King). What's remarkable about this particular lack of remorse is that Madoff should at least be cognizant of the fact that his actions caused the death of two young men. One of Madoff's sons, Mark Madoff, committed suicide and the son of Madoff's accountant also killed himself (Cornwell). While one could argue that Madoff is only responsible for his own actions, the reality isn't so simple. The tragedies of these suicides truly demonstrate that greed can be absolutely devastating. The love of money can be so all-encompassing that it can take lives-even young lives and innocent lives. Madoff's love of money was so invasive and pronounced that he gave no thought...
When it comes to the ethical collapse of companies in business, it is up to good businessmen and women to be educated on the telltale signs of such changes. According to Marianne Jennings, author of the book "The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse: How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Corporations" the first sign is an unrealistic pressure to maintain "those numbers." As Jennings explains, all companies will exert a certain amount of pressure on their employees to maintain a certain level of excellence. "But in this first sign of a culture risk for ethical collapse, there is not just a focus on numbers and results but an unreasonable and unrealistic obsession with meeting quantitative goals. 'Meet those numbers!' is the mantra" (Jennings, 17). This creates a workplace environment of culture and fear, and puts undue pressure on employees to "meet the numbers" at any price. Ethically sound men and women in the business world need to be highly cognizant of such an environment as it sets the stage for illegitimate activities.
Ethical business practices need to encourage clear communication. If a culture of greed is a culture which specializes in the love of money, then this culture often does not want to hear "bad news" or even dissent. The second sign of an ethical collapse is one of fear and silence (Jennings, 59). Unethical practices simply cannot exist if people are consistently objecting to them (Jennings, 59). Ethically sound businessmen and women have an obligation to create a culture of communication, and an environment where employees feel obligated and welcome to object to skewed business practices. "Fear, silence and sycophancy" creates a feeling of invincibility and that all is permissible, and this sets a dangerous stage for ethical collapse. Morally sound business professionals have an obligation to prevent this culture of silence and blind agreement from developing.
Part of the dynamic of preventing ethical collapse in companies is directly connected to the people who inhabit the company: ethically sound professionals need to ensure that there is a healthy balance of individuals who all have strong moral compasses inhabit the company. When a corporation is filled with CEOs who are iconic media personalities and are motivated by money and who surround themselves with young, sycophantic enablers, the organization is often setting itself up for immoral actions in the name of greed (Jennings, 98). Furthermore, the employees who surround such a CEO can't all be young professionals who lack the wisdom or experience to question the morality of the CEO's actions (Jennings, 98). When it comes to a staff team, there needs to be a healthy melee of age and experience in order to ensure that the organization can be self-regulating.
Another sign of imminent ethical collapse that business people with good practices need to be aware of is the weakness or strength of the executive board. "The boards of companies at risk for ethical collapse are weak and ineffectual" (Jennings, 137). Boards can be weak for a variety of reasons-some are filled with friends or family members of the company and thus never like to dissent. Others have intense conflicts of interest, and others are weak because of inexperience (Jennings, 137). If a morally sound businessperson realizes that they're working in a company with an ineffectual board, steps need to be taken immediately to correct it. This leads immediately to the next sign of ethical collapse, which is that there are inherent conflicts in the employees hired. Most companies heading down the path of ethical collapse often practice extreme nepotism with lots of back-scratching (Jennings, 177). Thus, questions about what to do or how to run things are no longer about what is ethical sound or legal, but what is mutually beneficial for all the players involved. This too readily sets the stage for extreme greed, which as demonstrated creates a host of grief. A company cannot be expected to just be regulated from outside auditors or the government: they need to have internal structures for regulation, factors that a skilled business person should be able to impart.
In conclusion, greed is like a disease which can infest an organization, making the pursuit of the love of money to have primacy over all else. Unfortunately,…
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