Monday, July 6, 2009

The MBA Oath

ROFL. OK, maybe I am a bit cynical here but this story on NRP about the MBA Oath that some Harvard MBAs took made me laugh out loud.

They have a website (who doesn't?) and here's the oath:

As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can create alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face choices that are not easy for me and others.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.

  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society in which we operate.

  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.

  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.

  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.

  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.

  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.

  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.

This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

I thought it was important to have the whole thing here. While I do agree with the principle of this Oath, there is nothing backing it up. If someone breaks the Oath will they be disbarred from being Managers? What's the repercussion of breaking the oath? Lawyers and Doctors have a board to answer to. MBAs/managers do not.

This brings back memories of my ethics classes. Interesting stuff. I definitely subscribe to the idea. It's just that people need to be held accountable, to be certified like doctors and lawyers and to have some power over them. Otherwise this is just an idealistic exercise that will potentially go out the window as soon as the going gets tough.

OK, enough old man cynicism for one day :-)
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