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MGMT 520 Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Business Week 1 As the pendulum swings. Ethics and the Law_Discussion Question 2

MGMT 520 Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Business Week 1 As the pendulum swings. Ethics and the Law_Discussion Question 2

MGMT 520 Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Business Week 1 As the pendulum swings. Ethics and the Law_Discussion Question 2

MGMT 520 Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Business Week 1 As the pendulum swings. Ethics and the Law_Discussion Question 2

As the pendulum swings. Ethics and the Law.
All of us know what happens when a pendulum rests at the bottom of its swing, with nothing acting upon it. It quietly waits for something to start its movement. However, once something has started it swinging, we have all witnessed how long it takes for it to stop – the heavier the pendulum the higher it swings. Law, Ethics and Politics work together like a Newton’s cradle – a conglomeration of multiple pendulums which collide, sending each one higher in the air, with every “click” at the bottom of the swing forcefully sending the others shooting off in other directions.

We’ve decided to start this course off with a pendulum swinging. Over the last few years, we have witnessed unprecedented financial devastation throughout the business and banking world. This all has occurred AFTER the pendulum swinging regulations which were put into place and are discussed in Chapter 2 of your textbook – Enron, Worldcom, and other ethically challenged companies caused Congress to pass legislation (Sarbanes-Oxley) which was supposed to protect companies and the public from unethical behavior by their leaders. Marianne Jennings refers to prosecutors as “ethical officers” in companies listed on the call-out on page 62 – AIG, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, and KPMG. Of these firms, we have witnessed the implosion of some of them and all of their roles in these companies is open to discussion this week.

My question to you for the beginning of our dissection of the relationship among the law, politics and ethics:

Is law the catalyst for starting the pendulum swinging? Or is it ethics? Politics? Or all three — and of the three — which one SHOULD be the catalyst? Our textbook author wrote an article in 2010 for The Arizona Republic entitled “The Moral Hazard of Walking Away from Debt” reprinted in our textbook on pp. 491-492. Reading this may assist you in collecting your thoughts about this thread.
When we see that the interaction of all three can impact our wallets, our ability to purchase a home and our children’s or grandchildren’s ability to live like we do — is it our job as business professionals to avoid unethical behavior which will set off the Newton’s cradle? For example – the U.S. home mortgage crisis has impacted the world’s global economy. Do we have an ethical responsibility to do something about this? What other industries have had major international impacts caused by the U.S. actions? And what is it that we should do?
Let’s get started.
What an interesting and timely topic! We have all been touched in some way by the current economic conditions and may have been touched by the corporate scandals of recent years. This is a good place to begin our term-long discussion of individual and corporate social and ethical responsibility. How do we begin reform and change?

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