Business Ethics: There Is A Need
Papoutsy Endowed Chair in Business Ethics
Inaugural Dinner and Reception
April 17th, 2002
Remarks by Christos Papoutsy
Thank you for joining us this evening to commemorate the inauguration of the first Endowed Chair at Southern New Hampshire University.
Thank you President and Mrs. Gustafson and the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Management for your warm and gracious hospitality.
Many have asked Mary and I two questions. Why did we establish "The Chair in Business Ethics?" And why did we choose to call upon the lessons taught by current and Classical Ethicists as the Core Value system for the new Ethics Chair?
The answer to the first question is clear. There is a Need!!
Unethical behavior in businesses such as Enron, Arthur Anderson and many more is not new. It has been with us from the beginning of time.
As the Globalization of World Business expands, unethical business conflicts will arise and increase from all parts of the world because of the many diverse business value systems being used. The need for a better understanding of Global Business ethics will slowly emerge.
Transparency International's recent Annual Global Corruption Perception Index ranked Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada as the five most ethical countries out of over 100 reporting. The United States was ranked 18th with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan and others ranked even lower.
Another very important annual report, developed and issued by PriceWaterhouse-Cooper, measures corruption in Business and Government and what it costs the average citizen. It reports that ihe U.S. is ranked number (1) Best out of 35 reporting, with over 20 countries being poorly ranked and rated.
Most countries are now aware of the negative drag that corruption and unethical behavior has on their economies and on their citizens.
For countries, businesses and citizens to compete and succeed in the Free Global Economy, corruption and unethical behavior will have to be significantly reduced.
This is the answer to the first question. Why did we establish the Chair in Business Ethics? There is an urgent Global Need!!
Now the second question: why the Classics? Why call upon the works of the Ancient Greeks as a basis for an Ethical Business Value System?
In establishing a value system for the Business Chair, the questions arose: whose values? whose standards? whose ethics?
Who is right? Which system of values is more appropriate in defining the core value and the mission of the New Business Ethics Chair?
The direction that we embarked upon, "to teach and incorporate business ethics into all aspects of the University and the Business community," entailed studying, understanding and applying the lessons taught by current and classical ethicists to 2Ist Century settings, calling upon the Ancient Greeks whose teachings have shaped the history of Western civilization from Antiquity until the present time. The motivation and inspiration came from Dr. Kenneth Goodpaster's success in utilizing a similar approach at Harvard and for the Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, at St. Thomas University, and the leadership role he has taken with the Caux Roundtable, a world respected ethics foundation.
Mary, my wife (a dedicated Classicist), together with Dr. Eleanor Dunfey-Freiburger, called upon number of noted classicists and businessmen and women such as Dr. John Rouman, Dr. Richard Clairmont, Selma Naccah-Hoff, Dr. John Hussey, Richard Kimball, David Mylar, Ted Krantz, President Gustafson and many others developing a methodology on how to integrate the classics into the Business Ethics program.
The vision for the Business Ethics Chair is a very old and accepted one. It is "An Aristotelian Ethics Vision".
The basis for an Aristotelian ethics vision is: Global Eudaimonia.
The term Eudaimonia, coined by Aristotle, is the material and the spiritual well being of a society, the ultimate goal, the Teleos.
An Aristotelian ethical system teaches that what is morally good should be chosen because it leads to happiness.
The establishment of "The Business Ethics Chair" is one small step in assisting all of S.N.U.'s students, and the Global business community to obtain "Global Eudaimonia".
God Bless S.N.U.
God Bless America
And God Bless You All