Ethics in business

I am constantly amazed at the low level of interest seen in Ireland in broader questions of ethics. We seem to equate making a judgement on ethical issues with calling for someone’s head, as if ethics is just a question of condemning what others do wrong, rather than what kind of society we feel we ought to have. This has produced some stunning lapses of morality in our business world.

It is time that we elevated discussions about ethics above the level of personal judgement and condemnation, and looked instead at what kind of society we want, and how we would expect to see that reflected in the actions and decisions of people at work – and not just in top management positions. My university has recently established a Institute for Ethics which will focus on such issues and which, I hope, will stimulate a national debate. The time for that has come.

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