Home > morale, Sebastian > Is business-morale a monetary-measure?

Is business-morale a monetary-measure?

In the years of 2005 and 2006 scandals ran through German media that would eventually change the perception of business ethics. Back then, the workers’ council of Volkswagen got caught for organising pleasure trips to Brazil on the company’s expenses. Furthermore, Siemens has been sued for systematic bribery and finally got charged a fine of about 201 million €. Thereupon business seems to have changed all of a sudden. Established habits turned into immoral offences.

The government dealt with the issue in January 2007 and passed a law that limits the value of corporate gifts to 35€. I’m now asking myself: Is that the border between an ethically passable gift in a business relation and the moral abyss?

Let’s face it from a different perspective. What are the most common gifts to give to a business-partner for christmas? I’d say those are a couple of bottles of wine, a bottle of champagne or a calendar for the upcoming year. Isn’t it fairly easy to exceed the limitation of 35€ with such gifts that simply express your appraisal of the successful business relation? Or even: Might your counterpart interpret a cheap, but ‘legal’ bottle of champagne as your minor interest in the continuation of the connection?

I admit that it is difficult to measure the border between a sign of appreciation and bribery. Especially, because those borders are defined by every individual himself. Nevertheless, I’d grant mature managers and public figures the competence to handle this topic responsibly.

Thus far, we have only measured the level of morale against the amount of money, we perceive to be non-bribe-worthy. But isn’t morale more than that? On Wikipedia it says: Morale is “the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others.” So, it is more than that, by saying it’s the belief in an institution…

To me it seems that nowadays, people are measuring good business managers by morality, for which they have set an extremly high standard. A standard that is pretty blurry and fluent and only based on money…

Does that mean that business-morale is just a monetary value?

Whose perceptions of good morality does that meet?

And how is that compatible with the high standards we set for responsible people in powerful positions?



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