Let me start by saying I believe in laissez-faire capitalism and freedom as defined by libertarians. It pains me to see “Wall Street greed” being the public discourse of the day. It pains me to see a CEO being questioned if it was “fair” if he earned what he earned. It pains me to see the very concept of pursuit of self interest (even greed if you must call it that), being challenged. Not here, not in America.
And as we shift through the causes and explore alternatives to the financial setback. Let’s not ignore the crisis of credibility in professional management. Most managers are vanguard of resources that they do not themselves own, and one hopes their incentives are aligned to pursue the best interests of their shareholders, employees, and customers in that order. However, that by itself has been proven to be insufficient. I do believe there is a crisis of leadership which needs to be addressed by those in professional management. If we don’t do something about it soon, the day is not far when the society will lose faith. We will be bound by regulation and adjudicated by courts.
I was heartened to see an article (“It’s time to make management a true profession”) in Oct 2008 issue of HBR that calls towards professional accreditation for managers, something along the lines of the bar for the lawyers, or a license for those in medicine. That is but one idea that could help, but we need to think more critically to protect our collective reputation. It’s no longer just a matter of ethics, it’s bad for business. I appeal to your self interest.