Business and ethics needn’t been mutually exclusive, says Leigh Hafrey, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The longtime expert in professional ethics sat down with genConnect to talk about why “value-based leadership” is so important, particularly in the 21st century. Watch:
“When we talk about leadership, invariably we also talk about values,” Hafrey told genConnect. “People lead from values; they may be imperfect, they may be distorted, they may be incomplete but the values are always there.”
The problem, Hafrey explained, comes in coordinating individual, organizational and systemic values. He “found hope” in the hundreds of Harvard Business School (HBS) students that, in 2009, created and signed a pledge, known as the MBA Oath, to act ethically in the business world.
“We think of lawyers and doctors as professionals; that comes with a commitment to expertise and judgement and service and a code of ethics,” Hafrey said. “Can we say the same for business?”
The HBS oath sought to match the framework put in place for working professionals like physicians, who take a Hippocratic Oath, and lawyers, who pledge an oath to the American Bar Association. The MBA oath was a step in the right direction, Hafrey said, but only time will tell if the ideology spreads.
“We have worked with this idea for some time now and I think it should stay on the front burner.”
genConnect was credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we interviewed the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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