I have seen many, many companies, more especially the MNC variety profess their uncompromising and undying allegiance to a code of ethical business practice. At times this runs to twenty pages or more in small print, clearly to discourage any person who may wish to seriously study this document and understand its contents.
At Ecotech we have a very simple statement of our intent and practice in two short easily understood sentences:
- We will neither offer a bribe to anybody nor accept a bribe from anybody
- We will treat all our Clients, Business Associates and Employees with utmost respect and fairness in all our dealings.
Oftentimes, the published code of these MNCs remains only on the 20 odd pages or more of paper or in lightweight soft copy. They always find ways and means to circumvent these highfalutin, grandiose pronouncements when the going gets tough. After all that is what third party intermediaries are for and all the lofty principles go out of the window. Vainglory at its worst.
Long term successful businesses do not run on ethics alone. It requires basic competence, skill, domain knowledge and several other attributes such as fair and transparent dealings to get there.
In recent times, I have had the misfortune to see one such MNC dole out arbitrary and summary justice in a few cases in the name of ethics, without following basic principles and norms of natural justice, fairplay, jurisprudence.
Ironically, but with just cause this very same MNC has been unceremoniously thrown out of a few sites it services for lack of competence, lack of domain knowledge and skill and for hiring equally incompetent agencies for support services.
And a thought crossed my mind - Soon this MNC touted to be the most ethical, will be left only tom- toming its code of ethics in business but without any clients to service and without any business to conduct : An emperor wearing no clothes.
Ethical business practice must be supported and complemented by competence, knowledge and skill. And most importantly fairplay which is the bedrock of any ethical business conduct.