Nader Calls Study Meaningless

Jul 21, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and erstwhile presidential candidate, called the results of a new study on corporate ethics conducted for the US Chamber of Commerce, “meaningless”.

The study asked executives at 515 companies if they believed their businesses should operate ethically and commit to being good corporate citizens. Eighty-seven percent of respondents consider it very important to operate ethically.

Mr. Nader told The Associated Press, “It’s like asking a company, ‘Do you believe in being good?’ Who’s going to say no?”

Joseph Kasputys, chairman, Hitachi Foundation, which funded the research, disagrees with Mr. Nader. “The corporate scandals have given business generally a bad reputation. But this survey shows most corporations are really doing something positive.”

The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College conducted the study. Steve Rochlin, research director at the center said, “Corporations view corporate citizenship as a fundamental part of doing business.”

Moderator’s Comment: Comes push to shove, are ‘golden
rule’ ethics and business objectives fundamentally at odds with one another?

To quote Bruce Springsteen, “It’s so hard to be a saint
when you’re just a boy out on the street.”

We can’t claim to see eye-to-eye with Ralph Nader on many
subjects. In this particular case, however, he’s right. The study really should
have been asking business executives what they would do if they could only select
one of two choices. Would they be willing to act unethically (even to the slightest
degree) if it meant achieving great business success or would they stick to
their guns in that resulted in them being out of a job and/or business?

Anderson – Moderator

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