Ethical leadership is the core of the corporate ethical culture, so the selection of management team is the core of the selection systems to the company. We don’t know how Mr. Haggett advanced to the CEO position of BIW where his father worked as a pipe fitter, but I guess it was his ability that eventually made him success. But we had to question when the board of directors appointed Mr. Haggett as CEO, was his ability to fulfill the company’s growth target that mainly impressed the directors? Or the board of directors had considered his ethics performance of the same importance to the ability to make profit for the company. The value and mission statements may clearly highlight the ethical culture, but if Mr. Haggett felt that he was elected because of their appreciation of his execution of the set growth target by any possible means then he knew he had to keep meeting targets which was his most important capital to survive. So the whether the ethical requirement is integrated into the criteria of selection process is critical in order to be build an ethical culture.
The rewarding system
If there President Fitzgerald did not go against CEO Haggett’s decision and in contrast agreed with him in using confidential information which is only known to a small group of senior managers. As the company’s orders increased because of using the information, most staffs in the company will be rewarded especially the top management. How can any one within the company found out all about this, would any one sense a problem because of the growth? Maybe except there was a whistle-blower.
It’s startling that the two vice presidents did not give any ethical advice to CEO Haggett. There were no objections from the executives. Was it unusual for an executive to remind his CEO of his unethical decision in the company that has strong ethical culture? Maybe power was so overwhelming that whistle-blowers were minorities.
Corporate culture is something very abstract, but it rest in the structure of the company, if structure is designed to do good for the whole society, and chooses integrity when it is in conflict with profit making business, then it is a ethical structure, otherwise complex money making machine. But is it? Years after Marx said workers under the capitalist can never get rid of the fate of being exploited of their surplus value his word unfortunately still works now. Some works are now called mangers but they are still workers; some capitalist are now called investors, but they are still capitalist. If managers do not make money for the investors they will be sacked as they always are. If there is 100% profit margin, the capitalist will risk breaking all the laws; if there is 200% profit margin, the capitalist would risk being executed.2 Now the capitalists do not need to risk their heads by doing unlawful dealings but they force the managers to make the decision that they expect to see but they only be responsible for the money that they have invested not even include the money they earn from it all the time. How fair a deal it is! Take a company with limited liability as a whole, how could it be responsible for the society as it has limited liability, and ready to go through bankruptcy after making a big deal of money by taking risk if that excellent opportunity is provided. Limited liability companies is just a building game that played by the children, everyone is making fun out of it by building up the skyscrapers, and no one’s going to be responsible for its fall down. But as the children grow up, they will be more ethical, I guess.