Articles About Moral Business
On the National Catholic Register, Andrew Abela confesses to a “nagging suspicion that teaching business ethics in a university is not delivering on what is expected of it.” The question is both concrete and academic: Abela is the chairman of the Department of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America and an associate professor of marketing. He was awarded the Acton Institute’s Novak Award in 2009.
Profit is a valid motivation for business and, generally speaking, a company that pursues profits within the bounds of law and morality will be fulfilling its purpose admirably.
Amidst the ongoing recriminations concerning responsibility for the 2008 financial crisis, business leaders continue to be listed among the guilty. Of course any objective analysis of the financial crisis soon indicates that politicians and central bankers were just as, if not more responsible for facilitating the financial perfect storm.
Tom and James are long-time friends who are in their late 20's. They went to college together and settled in the same city after graduation. They have both been working in the same part of the city for the past few years. Their wives are good friends and they get together as couples periodically. Tom works for one of the major international accounting firms, in their consulting division, helping companies set up and maintain internal financial control systems. He is on a partnership track and his work has been well received by the office's partners. He enjoys his work generally, finds it challenging and stimulating, though the long hours do get to him sometimes. He often wonders how he will handle the hours now that he and his wife have a young family. He sometimes thinks about starting his own business, thinking that might give him more flexibility with his hours. He gets pretty excited about that prospect and likes the idea of being his own boss. He knows some former colleagues who have gone out on their own, and he senses that he has the right mix of people skills, drive, and creativity to launch a successful business.
“Freedom,” writes Pope John Paul II in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, “attains its full development only by accepting the truth. In a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation and man is exposed to the violence of passion and to manipulation, both open and hidden.“
R&L: In your opinion, what are the primary responsibilities of ethical business people in a free market society?
Shiely: In my mind, there is one primary responsibility of business people in a free market society and that is the creation of value. The expectation of value creation is the primary reason society allows firms to exist. By value creation I mean the creation of value through integrative (pie expanding) relationships with the primary corporate constituencies of shareholders, lenders, customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities in which the firm does business. No sustainable economic value has ever been created by unethical business people.
R&L: I understand that you have a unique way of doing business. Tell me about it.
Mataro: young While maintaining high standards of quality for all our installation jobs, my approach is to hire and train young men-high school age or a little older—who are in trouble with the law, in school, or at home. Their parents, schools, or courts bring them to me. These young men are more to me than a mere source of business output. My wife and I house several of these young guys. We try to teach them a little bit of biblical beliefs as well as teamship and friendship. Meanwhile we help them learn a good trade that they can take anywhere in the world and use. That is what sets our company apart and makes it unique.