Monday, October 11, 2004

Teaching Ethics

We had a class on Business Ethics this afternoon. A guest lecture was given by Mrs. Mamta Kachwaha, a lawyer, about Ethics in Indian Scriptures. Ironically, nothing was talked about the scriptures save for two Sanskrit words - dharma and another word for 'centre' that I cannot recall. For about 10 minutes, we were told to 'experience ourselves' through something like yoga.

The class started with the guest asking what ethics was and got responses like 'ethics is not required', 'ethics is something to be preached, not practiced', and 'ethics should not be taught.' One guy was most vocal about ethics. He told how when only he practices ethics while no one else cares about it, why should only he be ethical? He talked about people ganging against someone just because you don't like him. When someone else put his opinion that no one can be ethical throughout his life, he immediately jumped in saying this shows 'the extent to which corruption has seeped into the society.'

The guest was visible shocked at the position at which these guys (we) held ethics. One guy, who thinks his only job in this world is to contradict whatever someone thinks, went on to say that the guest is 'forcing her ethics' on him. This guy had said to a HR prof in the first term that he doesn't listen to his father, so why the hell should he listen to Mintzberg? (or some other human behaviour 'guru' [his words].)

What else can you expect from a class which thinks releasing ford pinto without the all-important safety feature was a-ok, Union Carbide is not at fault for the Bhopal gas leak, and Dow Chemicals need not be held responsible for it? After all, these companies were just doing what the CEO wanted and did not break any law of the land by acting thus! These will be the CEOs, VPs and division heads that place more importance on quarterly profits than the welfare of their employees or the well-being of the society.

When the class ended, most of the guys were joking about the 'self experience "sleep"' they had. They did not realise she was related to a religious movement that helps find divinity through laughter (Art of Living). Had they known this, they would have fought pushed for more such classes because it is coming from a 'spiritual' person. They must have thought that since it is coming from a guest lecturer, that too a lawyer, it was fair game for jokes.

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October 13, 2004 11:37 PM  
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October 14, 2004 12:08 AM  
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October 14, 2004 6:43 AM  

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