The intense and dynamic nature of business pressures may not provide enough time for reflection and with the high stakes involved it may be tempting to compromise on ideals. Moreover, well-minded people often exhibit major differences in opinions about what constitutes ethical behavior and how these ethical decisions need to be made, further compounding the complex nature of the subject. A lot of evidence that we discuss in this paper shows that the advantages gained in taking an ethical stance are well worth the efforts taken in this often tricky path. This paper identifies the inherent long term benefits of actively managing the business ethics process in organizations and explores the value in ethical leadership especially in the air travel industry using relevant examples.
The ethical issues that have afflicted companies like Enron, WorldCom and Tyco have brought the impact of ethics violations to the popular attention in the United States. Parmalat, Adecco, Ahoid and Skandia have grabbed the media focus in Europe. In all these scandals involving breach of corporate ethics, revelations have been followed by investigations, accusations, claims and counter claims. Legal wrangling involving formal investigations, testimony, evidence trials, verdicts and punishments have gained relentless media coverage. The resulting damage done to the reputation of these businesses is enormous. As a result, the employee morale becomes very low in this worrisome, suspicious and discouraging environment. May International, a management consultation firm, recently conducted a survey of businesses in US and in Italy to determine how business owners viewed corporate ethics. Concern for business and personal reputation was the reason most often (54% of respondents) stated by Italian business owners for concern about ethics. The most common reason (43%) noted by U.S. business owners for their ethics concern was the basic belief that