Professor Joanne B. Ciulla, Research Director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers University, USA, delivered a leadership lecture at Mancosa [GSB] on Tuesday, 6th June 2017. The topic of the lecture was “The Centrality of Business Ethics in a Master of Business Education Curriculum”. She started her lecture by showing a Rembrandt portrait entitled ‘The Night Watch’ in which a group of men were emerging from a dark gateway into the light. The painting, she said, is symbolic of what the teaching of business ethics should be.
She stated that it can be challenging for one to be an ethical person as there is always a dilemma we face at some stage in life, and we question what is the right thing to do and what is the right way to do it. Professor Ciulla stated that leaders sometimes have good intentions but do not always execute these in the correct manner. The challenge therefore, she said, is how to merge ethics and effectiveness, as being efficient can at times lead to being unethical. She added that in order to be ethical, one should always ask him/herself the following questions – Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing it in the right way? Am I doing it for the right reason?
Professor Ciulla further stated that honesty is important in business ethics and that people should strive to be honest to themselves, to others and to their experiences. The whole point of business ethics, is to show people how to do things the right way and that business schools should endeavour to teach people how to do things in an ethical way.
She concluded her lecture with the following quote from what she referred to as the ‘The Book of You’.
When you are free, you must choose
When you are free to choose, you are responsible
Every Choice goes into the book of you