Does academic prowess mean sound values?

What the article says:

“Humanity is facing a crisis of moral leadership—men and women of character who can choose wisely and well in the difficulties, dilemmas and complexity of contemporary business and government.

One of the biggest risks we face today is an assumption that because people share or subscribe to our corporate values, that they in fact share our moral perspective.  Enron, LIBOR, AWB, unanswered questions at Note Printers Australia, and any number of examples would indicate immediately that is not the case.

The public travails of St John’s College and its students throw into stark relief the need to ask questions of potential employees to gain an insight about their moral outlook. It would be foolish of any organisation to assume that academic prowess equates with sound character.

Many commentators attribute the GFC to a general loss of moral consciousness and the divorce of markets and morals. But such a loss involves people and their actions, not some amorphous being called the market. Moral failure occurs in an individual—like Nick Leeson at Barings—or a group of individuals like the senior executives at Enron. And moral failure exposes firms to potential sudden and catastrophic collapse, as these examples demonstrate.

When a firm adopts a set of values they need to be sure that these are more than mere words, and that the associated behaviours are clearly understood at every level of the organisation. Shared corporate values do not mean shared moral perspective. For example, we can both agree profitability is important, but can have very different views about what constitutes acceptable behaviour to achieve that profit.”

Why this matters:

In simple terms, because the character of individuals, and the moral frameworks and perspectives they bring to the firm, are crucial to brand, reputation, and potentially survival.

Read the article here: Grooming corporate cowboys for the Enrons of tomorrow