In this Issue we focus our attention on business, technology, and ethics … education. No one disputes the influence of family, friends, media, and religious institutions on the formation of our character and values. Does our schooling play any role?
In particular, does university or business school education affect our ethical principles and practices? Our Ethix Forum suggests that, while there may be some influence from our higher education experiences, the picture is far from clear. We decided to interview some educational leaders from a variety of institutions to get their reading on the moral education of our future business leaders.
David Gill and I interviewed Fr. Robert Spitzer (President of Gonzaga University, a Catholic institution) and Bill Robinson (President of Whitworth College, a Presbyterian school) in Spokane, Washington. We are introducing our first ever “four-way” Conversation. I followed up with interviews of higher education presidents from three other contexts: Lee Huntsman (University of Washington, a large public university), Tom Cronin (Whitman College, a small private liberal arts college), and Phil Eaton (Seattle Pacific University, a university in the Wesleyan Methodist tradition). Though they bring different views to the table, all are hopeful about the future of ethical business leadership.
Also in this issue, David’s Benchmark Ethics column raises the question of how religion can or should relate to business, especially in light of the way people’s values and ethics are so often rooted in their religion. My own column explores the challenges and opportunities new technologies bring to our quest for trust in business. David and I provide contrasting reviews of an important new book on business, Saving the Corporate Soul by David Batstone. Contributing editor Gerard Beenen tells us why he liked the new techno-thriller film Matrix Reloaded.
Five years after we co-founded IBTE (1998), my co-director, David Gill, is retiring from direct involvement in the leadership of IBTE and Ethix magazine. He will continue to contribute his regular Benchmark Ethics column to Ethix from his base in Berkeley, California, where he is a free-lance ethics writer and educator. Among his goals for the next year are to finish a couple book projects and to fail to qualify for Premier status at United Airlines. David will continue to be a great collaborator, though in a different form, and I wish him well in his new focus.
I am also excited about some new things coming up. Dr. Kenman Wong, the Joe Hope Professor of Ethics at Seattle Pacific University, will be joining me for the next two conversations. We are going to talk with leaders of two prominent companies that have been in the news for recent past ethics violations. The new leaders are going to lay out their assessment of what went wrong and what they are putting in place to change the future. I expect Kenman to contribute in other ways as well.
We are also adding some new features to Ethix over the next year or so. One will start next issue when I will introduce our new correspondent from Singapore, who will provide an Asian perspective on business, technology, and ethics.
We look forward to hearing from you through forums, responses to articles, or other suggestions. Share a copy of Ethix with a friend. There is a movement to build.