This article concludes our report on some recent research related to “civic honesty” and includes a recap of some of our earlier perspectives on ethics and values in business. As you know, this issue is extremely timely for so many reasons.
Is There Any Explanation for the Way We Act? Part 1: Review of Past Perspectives on Ethics and Values in Business
In this 2 part series, we planned to report on some recent research related to "civic honesty". Given its relevance to our (perpetual) theme - namely ethics and values in business - part 1 will recap some other perspectives that have been addressed in earlier articles.
Thanks to a good friend and highly regarded neuroscientist Gitendra Uswatte, we have gone back to the drawing board on the article entitled Takers - A Result of the Imp of the Perverse - Part 1.
“Takers” – A Result of the Imp of the Perverse? Part 1: A Preposterous Explanation for Disastrous Decisions
The concept of ‘takers’ is so foreign to me that I find myself struggling to understand how they have come to be and in midst of this query, I find myself thinking about an Edgar Allan Poe story “The Imp of the Perverse”.
I am a firm believer in creating value the old-fashioned way (heavy lifting/long term view). In my opinion, while ‘financial engineering’ can be a tool, it is a dangerous one and one that is used far too often. With this background (disclosure) in place, I continue with the story of how the Grinch stole my Christmas.
In the context of the above, I have tried to pay tribute, in particular, to Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar, which I believe is a classic when it comes to describing the dilemma. Having disclosed all this, my goal is not to bash the “bad (read taker) guy”, but to reinforce the good (read maker) guys.
I am often intimidated by the challenge of translating complicated subject matter into very few words and simplifying it to make it more understandable. Therefore, I have chosen a “recipe” metaphor for this article because I believe there is no single component to innovation. With the right ingredients and assembly of those ingredients (allowed to cook together if you will), the outcome is worth the effort.
I have been tracking the see-saw around good/bad behavior in business for about five decades not because I am surprised at the presence of bad actors – the temptations are obvious and (apparently for some business people) irresistible but because I was troubled by (growing) incidents I observed.