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Ethical Era
Generational Shift
in Management
Philosophy
Nearly 20
percent of
Harvard’s 2009
master’s of
business admin-
istration gradu-
ating class have signed “The MBA
Oath,” acknowledging that the goal
of a business manager is to “serve the
greater good.” It’s their public vow
that they will act responsibly, ethically
and refrain from advancing their “own
narrow ambitions” at the expense of
others.
The New York Times reports that
top business schools have witnessed
an explosion of interest in ethics
courses and in student activities about
personal and corporate responsibil-
ity. The student-driven idea is to view
business as more than a money-mak-
ing enterprise. “Rather, they will think
about how they earn their income,
not just how much,” says Bruce Kogut,
director of the Sanford C. Bernstein &
Company Center for Leadership and
Ethics, at Columbia. This new genera-
tion of activists promises to consider a
corporation’s affect on its community
and the public, its workers and the
environment.
At Columbia Business School,
all students must pledge to an honor
code that states in part: “I will not lie,
cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”
The code, in place for three years,
came about after discussions between
students and faculty.
August 2009 11
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