Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson addressed the ethical challenges of doing business in Asia at a seminar, "Worlds in Collision?" that was co-sponsored yesterday by the Center and Morrison & Foerster.
Hanson's remarks included these observations on why there is a growing interest in ethics in China, India, and other Asian countries:
The increasing expectations of American and European companies that they be able to operate in an manner ethically consistent with practices in their home country. Part of this is that they be able to select business partners and agents who share their ethical values and practices. These Western companies are being encouraged to achieve this consistency by their own governments, by media in their home countries, and by public sentiment.
The desire of Asian companies, and increasingly even Chinese companies, to deploy capital abroad by forming joint ventures with American and European companies or by buying Western companies . This leads to substantial pressures for those firms to exhibit "Western" ethical practices - from their business partners and from Western governments.
A company needs to buy T-shirts for a promotion. Should they purchase inexpensive shirts from China, where they don't know the wages and working conditions of the employees or the quality of the fabric? Or should they buy from a local, worker- and eco-friendly T-shirt vendor at a much higher cost?
Just as a corporate board has an important role in the strategic direction of a company, so they also can play an important part in the company's ethical direction.
Michael L. Hackworth, a 45-year veteran in the high tech industry and chairman of the Ethics Center's Advisory Board, discusses what boards must do to set the ethical tone. He is interviewed by Lon Allan, chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors-Silicon Valley (SVNACD) about the board’s role in building an ethical culture.
What are the ethical challenges to starting up a company? To putting together your team? To meeting with venture capitalists when the financials aren't as promising as you'd like? To creating a company culture? Bryan Wargo and Kevin Beals, both SCU grads, will speak Nov. 17 in Lucas Hall about the ethical challenges in their extensive experiences over the last 15 years in start-up companies in Silicon Valley.
Wargo is CEO of Nearbuy. Before founding Nearbuy, he served as the general manager of Aruba’s AirWave product line. Prior to AirWave, Wargo founded 2Roam to address the proliferation of mobile Internet devices. He also served as senior business development manager for VeriFone's e-commerce software products and was a territory manager for Hewlett-Packard's Unix division.
Beals, CFO of Nearbuy, was formerly the Worldwide Sales Controller for Aruba Networks.He joined Aruba after they acquired his previous company, AirWave Wireless, where he was the VP of Finance. Beals got his entrepreneurial start as co-founder and CFO of 2Roam Inc., which was sold in 2002.He started his career in public accounting, where he earned his CPA license and was an audit manager at Frank, Rimerman and Co.
This event is co-sponsored by SCU's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. The event is also associated with the Hackworth Fellowship of Meghan Skarzynksi, a senior finance major and Hackworth Fellow at the Ethics Center.
Author and former Managing Director of Procter & Gamble Worldwide Gurcharan Das visited the Center last week to talk about his most recent book, The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma. (podcast)
Das draws on the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, to explore dharma, which deals with the basic principle of the universe and how a person may act in conformity with it. He argues that dharma, which is a pragmatic notion, is a useful approach to the kind of governance failures he observes in the world today.
"Your boss has asked you to do something that seems unethical. How can you determine whether your suspicions are correct?"
That was the question posed by Eilene Zimmerman's New York Times column, "Career Couch." Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson, one of the commentators, counseled, "It's possible that you have simply misunderstood the request, so ask your boss to restate it. This gives him or her a chance to rethink it and possibly decide to do things another way."
Ethics, the study of standards of behavior, is applied to the business world in this presentation by Markkula Ethics Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson. Hanson defines ethics by talking about what it is and what it is not.
Hanson was a pioneer in the business ethics field. He holds the John Courtney Murray S.J. University Professorship of Social Ethics at SCU and is the co-editor of a four-volume series, The Accountable Corporation.
When a Web site collects visitor information so that it can fulfill an order, the visitor understands why he or she is providing data; the company will need contact information to deliver the purchase. But a lot of data is being collected from Web site visitors without their knowledge, and it's being used to market products.
Scott Taylor,chief privacy officer for Hewlett-Packard, talked with Kirk Hanson, Center executive director, about how companies can steward data and provide meaningful choice for Web site visitors about how their data will be used.