Monday, June 20, 2005

Is Business Ethics an Oxymoron?

Baaaaaaaa... baaaaaa.... this is the sound that sheep make when they run off a cliff. It's also the sound that high level managers make when they follow trends passed down from on high or laterally amongst their peers. Everyone's seen this in their company and it can take place in the adoption of a new fangled data reporting system or the drive to move all business into eBusiness.

Then there's the outsourcing trend... of course that's old news, but that doesn't mean it still isn't pertinent. I heard stories from individuals who worked overseas. They said that there have been tons of problems with employees pilfering equipment and computers, difficulties getting managers to use company guidelines, and that in India that there is a really big misconception about most people in India being fluent in English. I have always felt that outsourcing is inevitable; however, the rush to get plants and workers overseas overnight just didn't offer enough time to build teams with adequate skills in the new sites and allow the employees in the US the ability to transition to new areas of work, but as we have all seen it's not really about making things correctly it's about getting them done faster and cheaper... not the right way or done to insure lasting benefits. It's always been my opinion that outsourcing will cost this company and the countless others much more money than they estimated. More, there are cultural communication issues that people don't deal with.

On another yet somewhat related note. I've been reading more on Business Ethics. Maybe it's because you don't get rewarded in this environment for raising flags at least not when you don't work in Legal. Maybe it's just because I'm tired of the "Yes-Yes" culture we're living in at this company. The downright culture of denial that makes it possible for upper management to capriciously toss jobs overseas as well as sanction projects which 'unofficially' require their employees to work ridiculously extended hours. I wanted to be able to read about companies that actually practice open door policy. I wanted to witness evidence that people might actually be heard when they raised concerns or offered proposals for change. At one time, I do believe that that happened within this company, but outsourcing and the change in leadership shut the true 'open door' practice in our faces.

In the Bush Era of Business, employee empowerment has become a memory fading from the 90s dot com boom. But as one of the discussion notes from the Business Ethics site referenced below notes that American business don't really use long term empowerment strategies because American business focuses more on the short-term rather than the long term. Sad but true. Look at the Outsourcing example.

Is it me? Or are there others out there who are hoping for a change? Or are we all going to continue to wallow in denial?


5 Reasons Why Offshoring Fails:
http://www.itworld.com/Man/2701/050622gartnerbust/

Is Outsourcing to India as Cheap as the Executives Figured?
http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/business/11964063.htm

Council for Ethics in Economics:
http://www.businessethics.org/

Outsourced Call Center Employees Steal Client Bank Information:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1667310,00.html

Ethikos:
http://www.singerpubs.com/ethikos/

Social Investor, Consumer and Business Directory:
http://www.goodmoney.com/directry.htm

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