Monday, 8 February 2010

MBA Oath - Faith for the 21st Century?

Have you heard about the MBA Oath?  Among other things it includes:
I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term
There has been some debate about this in BusinessWeek with an INSEAD Professor arguing that it would violate directors fiduciary duties in some situations.

The question is what is for the good of a business?  Is profit today always better than profit tomorrow?  Increasingly business is being driven by quarterly results, but I know of a business where, not that long ago, the MD and FD didn't let the other directors know what the financial results were.

Is the drive for measurability for good or bad?

Certainly directors can argue that the government sets the context within which they work, and if the government wants businesses to have a social conscience then they will have to legislate for it.  And yet some businesses are working in this way.  I heard of a large solicitors where the staff do voluntary work, reading with children in school and offering free legal advice in legal centres, and where promotion depends upon having spent some time doing this!  Why?  Call me cynical, but I believe that they must see some benefit to themselves from this activity, there is no compulsion to do it, and it may cost them money.

Is it perhaps about what these activities do for the person doing them?  Does it make them a different kind of person - and does it make them the kind of person that businesses would rather employ?

Compare this to faith.  As well as having the doctrines to be believed, faith has encouraged people to care for the weaker in society, and I think that it is that caring which transforms people more than any belief that they have.

So, have we discovered faith for the 21st Century?  And what have those of us who hang onto an older one done wrong?  Is it perhaps the clinging so tightly to doctrine that has stopped people discovering the change of life that comes from loving others?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post Alan. We are excited about the MBA Oath and we hope you'll read our response to some of the questions you read in our book The MBA Oath, now available for pre-order, coming out April 29.



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