Governance & Compliance

Lesson 79

The Honorable Merchant - A Traditional Precept for Today

This summary is based on an early Lesson and is a re-read of a timeless topic; supplemented by an aspect that is often overlooked.
by Manfred Hoefle / Armin Sorg
Lesson 74

The Rise and Fall of Business Ethics

How managers lost their business ethics and how family firms with moral principles turned into profit-maximizing shareholder-value corporations. The tale of the original business purpose of Cadbury, one of the world's iconic chocolate brands and of Hershey, another chocolate maker with a long tradition of business ethics.
by Derek Brocklehurst
Thinkpiece 42

What is the Purpose of Business Ethics

Are social justice issues – equality, inclusion and diversity the responsibility of corporate managers? What would the factory owners of the industrial revolution think of contemporary business ethics and moral management? Can a business have a moral purpose? This piece looks at the first industrial pioneers and their business ethos. Did they have one? Can lessons be learned for today?
by Derek J. Brocklehurst
Thinkpiece 31-2

Limited Liability (Part 2): The Total Economic Cost

If limited liability did not exist, would you invent it? It creates business uncertainty, corporate failure and loss of trust in managers; has no commercial or economic benefit; private gain but great public cost; it is unjust and inefficient; serving the interests of capital owners and managerists but not the common good. Some remedies are proposed.
by Derek James Brocklehurst
Thinkpiece 31-1

Limited Liability (Part 1): Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Limited liability in truth means — No liability. The limited liability corporation is a business model that harms others. Corporate managers are incentivized by bonuses to take unreasonable risks that can lead to bankruptcy. Risk and accountability have become detached. In nineteenth-century Britain, bankers and factory owners opposed limited liability. What is a limited liability law for? Who is it for?
by Derek James Brocklehurst
Thinkpiece 20

The Decline of Moral Behavior in Business

Ethical behavior is having a hard time, especially within the harsh constraints of a globalizing and increasingly nominal economy. The risks of misconduct are much higher for (too) big companies and conglomerates. Reports of unethical business practice are on the rise. This essay describes the action that management must take.
by Manfred Hoefle
Lesson 48

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a Poor Substitute for The Honorable Merchant

Years ago the British charity Christian Aid said that the novel CSR programs of many global corporations were a great sham, a big bluff. Management executives were letting themselves be fooled. Since then a huge CSR industry has grown up, to replace the ethos of the honorable businessman. In the meantime CSR consultants have profitably positioned CSR as the systemic ethical consulting for commercial businesses — and for non-profit organizations too. This essay describes the chronic malady this causes and what must be done to cure it.
by Klaus Demleitner
Thinkpiece 10

Directors' Pay – Something Has To Change

Directors' pay is in the headlines. It should remain a matter of social and political concern until things change. Why? What needs changing? Local and contemporary issues are important ― but this perspective covers more.
by Manfred Hoefle
Lesson 23

Certification – On the Way to Standardized Businesses

Auditing and certification, mainly of companies, is a booming business. It all began in Britain with BS 5750, which was the first standard for Quality Management Systems: it was the forerunner of the ISO 9000 series of standards. The fees levied by standardization and certification agencies was followed by globally operating and highly profitable consulting and certification groups. Well over a million certificates have been awarded worldwide for ISO 9001 alone: around 50,000 of these in Germany. The runaway train of certification is now unstoppable. What certification is based upon, its consequences, and where it can lead is elaborated in this Lesson.
by Klaus Demleitner
Insight 5

An Honorable Merchant – A Role Model for Today?

Robert Bosch (1892 ― 1959) wrote in his autobiography that, "Running a business honestly is still the most profitable way in the long run. The business world places a higher value on decency than you might think." The lifelong experience of a great entrepreneur is commercial justification for an honest merchant. Manfred Hoefle and Armin Sorg trace the principle over time, and describe ways of reviving it.
by Manfred Hoefle / Armin Sorg