Corporate Greed (Part I of III)

Corporate greed has recently dominated the headlines in the United States. The list of fallen and disgraced Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers is long and alarming, and the stories emerging from the rubble of major corporations are quite disturbing.

How did this all come to pass?
What were the causes?
Who failed to lead?
What happen to teaching ethics?

Ethics is now being taught in the classrooms in the Graduate Schools of Business throughout American and now the world. It is too little and a very late. The paradox is at those same Graduate Schools of Business, is that less than two decades ago the MBA classes were hearing and learning all the benefits, executive "perks," tricks of the boardroom, and the tales of "big bucks", war stories of corporate raiders, merger and acquisition mega-millionaire and billionaires, and king's ransom "golden parachutes."

It should not surprise anyone that having Ivan Bosky bragging about his lucrative deals that they were making a lack of morals virtue and coveting all the toys and "perks." The world of the immoral world of greedy CEO is full of 100 foot yachts, 10,000+ sq. ft homes with tennis courts, media rooms, and ten car garages, immorality and affairs, appropriate goal for a senior executive, expected behavior, and mandatory for all successful CEO's.

For the Ivan Bosky to be invited to deliver a major lecture to all the MBA students of one of the most prestigious Graduate Schools of Business with the unbelievable message: "GREED IS GOOD!" is beyond belief in an institution of higher learning. Universities are supposed to develop are leaders, not our blunders.
It is as sad but telling comment on the state of our collective lack of moral integrity which the popular movie, WALL STREET, had actor Michael Douglas, as Corporate Raider Gordon Geeko, which he portrayed as a rich tycoon of industry. In the movie, Gordon Geeko is presented as a powerful deal maker with no morals. Geeko in the movie uses actual quotes and close paraphrases the soon to be indicted, fined, and jailed Ivan Bosky message "GREED IS GOOD!" It is very sad comment that that same message was delivered to the world and all the hopeful employees who now knew that it was OK to steal, lie, and cheat!

The events of the last ten years reveal a material flaw in the moral fabric of some previously well-respected corporate leaders. The ever-present pressure of the next quarter's profits, and the push to increase "earnings per share" and drive up the stock price have caused some senior executives of American firms to ignore the fundamental morals of honesty, especially if the news is bad. Unfortunately, some of the corporate executives began to believe their own press kits, lost their moral compasses, and fell victims to the disease of corporate greed. All of the executives whose behavior is described above have failed to demonstrate "moral virtue" or live a life consistent with basic honesty, the simple basic laws of the Old Testament's, "Ten Commandments."

Just as we hopefully raise our own children by those three great teachers, "example, example, and example," we must demand that our leaders and other key role models provide the "right example." Moral virtue has been sadly lacking in these top executives in major American publicly traded corporations. In order to build trust, Americans must require that our corporate and political leaders demonstrate by every action, thought, and deed that they stand for honesty and integrity. The leaders described above failed to be trustworthy. These fallen executive have demonstrated failed leadership.

Let's stroll through the recent corporate crime scene and the results of preaching in the Ivy Halls in the MBA classrooms that in fact making money regardless of the cost to other and that "Greed is Good!" to the MBA students and entire the world that has unfolded from teaching the "Seeds of Greed." The combined losses from corporate fraud, corporate greed, job losses, and Federal Government bailouts are climbing daily into the dozens of Trillions of Dollars.

The totals only continue to grow, and the economic problems they create materially adversely effect the stability of the stock market. The true tragedy is the devastation to millions of individual investors' finances and the personal havoc to the employees who lose not only their jobs but their retirement all at the same time.
Even the watchdog New York Stock Exchange (NTSE) has had a scandal. Retiring Chairman Dick Grasso's infamous multi-million dollar retirement package, approved by the NYSE Board of Directors, shocked everyone when the over $139.5 million payout package deal became public knowledge.

Please see Part II and Part III on

Copyright 2006-2010 ©Howard Edward Haller, Ph.D.

Howard Edward Haller, Ph.D.
Chief Enlightenment Officer
The Leadership Success Institute

Author's Bio: 

Howard Edward Haller, Ph.D.
Professional Keynote & Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, Award-Winning Published Book Author, University Professor, Author "Leadership and Adversity: The Shaping of Prominent Leaders" plus a Entrepreneurship and Leadership Academic Scholar


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