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If I Hear One More Thing About Ethics I Will Puke  
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1140 times:

Having recently become, officially, a Business student (accounting) I am quickly becoming disgusted by the amount of ethics getting rammed down our throats in classes, along with honor codes, and other bullshit that is supposed to make us honest.

My school, Univ of Texas at San Antonio, now forces us to take an ethics class in our final semester. We also have a recently revised code of conduct in which, according to the assoc dean and one of my profs, outlaws having someone else proofread your papers for you. Being caught violating this will result in failing the class and possible dismissal from the University.

I consider myself a pretty honest person, I am an Eagle Scout and like to think I hold myself to the ethical and moral standards expected of me. I also like to think I went through life without stepping on too many people unnecessarily, but I will admit just about every paper I ever wrote for school was proofread by someone to make sure I did not sound like a complete, blithering idiot.

I see people doing other things that are considered "unethical" by our code of conduct, sometimes it is just trading notes or last semester's quizzes, taking take home quizzes in groups (even when specifically forbidden by instructor), other times it is blatant cheating on exams. They slack off and get As while I sit around and bust my ass doing my own work to get Bs. I am not about to rat on these people, mainly because it would be impossible to really prove my allegations, and with class sizes close to 300 I have to admit I have no idea what anyone's name is. Also, tattletaling went out of style around 4th grade.

Enron is continually used as an example in these ethics lectures. The Executives ran the company into the ground and made millions in the process, this was unethical. However, they may pay a few million out in fines, lose all but 1 house and a few cars, and never see a jail cell; then they will write a few books, maybe give a couple lectures and make a few million $ back. The employees, on the other hand, are out of work, they lost their retirement, will never see any significant money out of the whole mess. To me this example sends the opposite message, it shows that the unethical people are the ones that get ahead and get rich.

My questions in all of this are:
Is 1 class and a silly code of conduct really going to make people more honest? Or are ethics taught by life experiences and you either have them or you don't? Also, are Enron, Tycho, Martha Stewart, Parmalat, etc really good examples of why we should be ethical?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1127 times:

Captoveur:
You sound very unethical.  Big grin

My guess is that they don't want you all to turn out like your former governor and his unethical cronies who are still in the White House.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineConcord977 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1261 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1118 times:

Captoveur,

The recent news stories about corporate greed and accounting scandals have put a huge spotlight on American business. Chief Financial Officers and Corporate Controllers are dropping like flies out there, because companies are wanting to prove to Wall Street that they are being 'proactive' in dealing with the problem.

Now the situation is trickling down to universities. If a well-known executive is caught doing something unethical, your university doesn't want the public to believe he learned how to "cheat" in his senior year of college.

They are protecting their own future reputation by at least being able to show the public that they taught their students high ethical standards. Then, if a graduate later screws up - the university can rightfully say, "not our problem."



No info
User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1106 times:

Ethics huh? Is it unlawful to assist the suicide of someone who has a terminal disease?


Go big or go home
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1104 times:

Is it unlawful to assist the suicide of someone who has a terminal disease?

Yes, it is unlawful... Is it unethical? I don't think so.. They are going to die anyway and may be in a great deal of pain and causing a great drain on the health care system. If they want to check out I see nothing wrong with helping them.


User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1103 times:

Then, my friend, does that make you a murderer?


Go big or go home
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1097 times:

Only if I do it.... and only in the eyes of the law

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 7, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1094 times:

Well, I wouldn't sweat the ethics curriculum too much. Teaching ethics to a businessman is a little like splashing cologne on a mugger. I don't think you can fail that part unless you get caught doing one of the few offenses that are specifically forbidden by law. And don't worry about it having any practical value after you graduate either.







Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1089 times:

I wasn't so worried about the work in the ethics classes. Some of the other classes can be a little challenging though. I was just sort of questioning the point of it all. Granted, I question the point of college all together, not like I am going to ever use 99% of what I learned here.

User currently offlineVSLover From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1897 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1083 times:

hahaha, SlamClick, that was a brilliant analogy.

but honestly, i believe ethics to be rather important. surprisingly i have found many friends here in the city with rather questionable ethical practices in normal everyday situations, and at work.

i found myself totally embarassed by some dumb (unethical) things i had done in my past, but honestly, the ethics and code of conduct/honor code at college was continually rammed down our throats the first few months. they dont mess around--one violation, if proven and you were expelled. try explaining that when you want to transfer to another college! but then again, it was the code that allowed such freedoms like exams with no proctors, and other students being terrified of even thinking of ripping stuff off from their peers. in total i know it made a better person of me and my school peers--something we have discussed at length.


User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1038 times:

Personally, I kind of like being able to sleep at night so I am not totally opposed to keeping my ethics.

But back to my question.. Are one lousy class and a couple lectures from the soapbox in other classes about ethics really going to make a dishonest person honest? Also, is Enron (and the other cases mentioned) a good example, when the people who were unethical are the only ones that are going to come out of that mess with more than the clothes on their back?


User currently offlineVSLover From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1897 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1026 times:

well to answer your question: no.

by the time you are of age to be in business school, i dont see much room for further formative development. college is a good time, but after i feel as though many have a firm grip on their morals and mores.

...but schools still have to try...


User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7810 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1027 times:

Simply tacking on a class in ethics in business school is not an answer. It isn't even a bandage for the problem. If business ethics are to be effectively addressed, it needs to be integrated into the whole curriculum.

But then ethics how most people see them, are more often than not at odds with the capitalist business model. Which is a competitive system. The competitive nature means that often rules are going to be stretched and tested to increase a competitive measure by some minscule amount to increase profits. The question is when does healthy competition become downright greed. I believe that what happened at Enron, Worldcom and others, if allowed to operate on a larger scale can only do more harm than good.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineCptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1008 times:

Ethics being a part of a curriculum? Remember the old saying "don't do as I DO but do what I SAY to do?". Hmmmmm...

Ethics are a part of your own individualism. You'll be the only person to decide what's right or what's wrong in your own mind. Carry on at your own comfort level, but be prepared to maybe get a bite in the ass should you get the end with the teeth on it. Regards...Jack



all best; jack
User currently offlineIflyatldl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1936 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 981 times:

These days a lot of companies are more and more making ethics paramount, especially since the Enron and Martha Stewart messes. And if you don't have the ones they want, then they don't want you. I have a friend who just started with Coca Cola and they REALLY drill that code into you.  Big grin


Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8508 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 967 times:

I think ethics classes are worthless. They're not going to change anyone. Ethics are based upon moral absolutes.

But what do you expect when the elites in the US are almost totally secular nihilists? Of course the country's gonna go to pot.


User currently offlineWellHung From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 964 times:

I think ethics classes are worthless. They're not going to change anyone. Ethics are based upon moral absolutes.

Of course they're not going to change people who are too narrow-minded to even understand the definition of ethics.  Insane Ethics classes are not set up to change anyone. Rather they teach you how to think about making decisions (or more accurately how to approach thinking about making decisions) based on what you "ought" to do while taking into account your moral duty and obligation.

There are no absolutes in ethics, except the fact that you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about.

[Edited 2004-05-29 02:31:46]

User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 954 times:

" ... elites in the US are almost totally secular nihilists"

Absolutely Md-90, what's needed is more JESUS. That will just make EVERYTHING suddenly OK.



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29832 posts, RR: 58
Reply 18, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 934 times:

I have observed the same thing.

There is a lot of preechy professors. And they have been beating that point to a pulp.

I guess that is what happens when you get a socialist education and can't get a job in the real world.

My rule of thumb is to seek out professors at the university I go to that have either worked, or are working in the professions that they teach. There is another rule I have to seek out professors that used to teach in the old community college system before it merged with the university system, but that only applies to my school.

For example the best accounting professor I have had so far, oddly enough did that in real life FOR YEARS. All of the instructors who who taught the A&P classes I had where licensed A&P's themselves.

The absolute worst professors are those straight out of college with worthless degrees, I have only had to find myself walking out on one. It was a new just out of college philospohy professor (BTW I needed the GER that's why I even considered taking the class). This was the fall of 01, and I think we all know what big event happened then. Well he then decided to hold a couple of classes that would have fit well with the muslium mantra that we brought it on ourselves.

I dropped the class before I got ticked off enough to physically drop the twerp. Sad part is that this professor still teaches and preaches his own brand of left wing bullshit to students (pardon the language).

Oh, I love who think students are there to serve them. I actually get a great pleasure out of reminding them that they are working through me. I am playing their employeer to provide me with a service. A lot of them get really offended by that Big grin



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8508 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 919 times:

More Jesus would help a lot, PJ Big grin

WellHung, I remember ethics and what it means from my business law class. Things like honesty and integrity don't go out of style, friend.

From the American Heritage Dictionary -

ethics (used with a sing. verb) The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy.

and

ethics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession:



L-188, for that business law we normally have a local judge who teaches it. He's supposed to be pretty good. But when I took it, he was off writing a book or something, so we had a local public defender attorney teach it. While she wasn't a hot shot corporate attorney a la Greg, she was a practicing attorney who had lots of good stories. And she did a good job, in my opinion.

My favorite was a macroeconomics professor who was a neat libertarian who had been the president of a bank, prospected for oil in the Middle East, worked for Shell managing oil fields in Texas, owned his own horse ranch, etc. He was also really interesting.


User currently offlineWellHung From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 906 times:

Thanks for providing the definitions to make yourself look even more stupid. I could have done it myself, but thought it would have been overkill and unnecessary. Don't know if you were trying to make a point, but if you were, you failed. Business law is not ethics.

User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 21, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 894 times:

As someone who teaches ethics, and who specializes in managerial ethics in healthcare, you bring up a very fundimental and cotroversial issue: can ethics be taught? The short answer is yes, but only up to a certain point. For the teaching to take hold, it must be reinforced both inside and outside the classroom, and also form a part of one's life after graduation. If an orgaization you join makes a strong point of reinforcing and modeling an ethical culture where integrity and fair play are values alongside efficiency, quality, service, etc. then yes, ethics can be taught if one is also socialized into it. Enron professed itself to be an ethical organization, had a compliance program in place, corporate values and so forth. Yet when the people in charge pay lipservice to integrity and have their fingers in the cookie jar at the same time, what does this due to their credibility?

Adam Smith himself once said that the markets need a strong moral underpinning to protect against exploitation. Somehow, we seem to have forgotten that in the rush for profit and success.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
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