Stephen Young gave a presentation to a class about the role of ethics for future business people.
The distinction between right and wrong isn’t always clear-cut. It’s a critical distinction to be made in the business world, Stephen Young said
“Success divorced from ethics is no success at all,” said Young, a guest speaker in professor Lynne Anderson’s Business, Society and Ethics class on April 25.
Young offered an interactive presentation based on the controversial topic of ethics titled “What would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg?” The presentation discussed global and social responsibility with regards to ethical matters.
Young is the global executive director of the Caux Round Table, which is a network of experienced business leaders serving to advocate an approach to improving the global community. Educated at the International School of Bangkok, Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Young has written articles for Pioneer Press and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Young published “Moral Capitalism” in October 2003, which is a well-accepted book written as a guide to use the CRT’s ethical and responsible principles for business. It had much influence on the information he included in his presentation to Anderson’s class.
As students actively listened with pens and paper in hand, looking from the PowerPoint presentation to the lecturer, Young gave the class something to think about.
He used Zuckerberg and Bill Gates to emphasize his point, that although some people get paid for being manipulative and deceitful, those qualities bring misery.
“And what is success without happiness?” Young said. “A person without virtue is fundamentally unhappy.”
Young attributed some of the problems people in power have with being ethical human beings to a book entitled “The 48 Laws of Power.” Some of the laws include: “get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit; learn to keep people dependent on you; and pose as a friend – work as a spy.”
He said he believes the book is a good primer to learn how people think in order to be able to combat and counter them.
“The moral ethical framework must be the foundation behind things because that helps to build relationships and promote democracy,” Young said.
After the lecture ended, students stood in line to introduce themselves to Young, ask him for clarification on his points and discuss their personal viewpoints on issues Young discussed.
“I always find it helpful when professors or experts come out to speak on their topic of interests,” Ugochukwu Obilo, a junior accounting major, said. “Though I had some conflicting viewpoints on the presentation, there were specific points that will remain with me.”
The students seemed to appreciate the presentation for the relatable content Young lectured on, but one criticism that rang out among a few of the students was the lack of interaction and active discussion throughout the presentation between Young and the students.
“The overall themes of the presentation were helpful, but the way it was expressed to us wasn’t as effective as it could’ve been,” junior marketing major Jalisa Miller said. “Although the class is lecture-style, I would rather have had an equal exchange of dialogue over leaving questions and comments for the end.”
Chuck Bodner, a junior marketing and management information systems major, said he perceived the presentation differently.
“Young’s presentation certainly hits home for me. Being in the Fox School of Business and trying to obtain a well-paying job after college together are surrounded within the idea of ethics,” Bodner said. “I find myself continuously questioning myself on where I stand with this issue – Will I do the right thing once I enter into my field of business or will I compromise myself for the sake of a buck?”
Business professor Steven Pyser considers much of Young’s work to be “genius” and is responsible for reaching out to Young and inviting him to come to Temple as a guest lecturer.
“I used his work in my classes so often I figured it would be a great idea to reach out and let him be heard,” Pyser said.
Young had one main message he said wanted students to take away.
“Being a good, honest and virtuous person is all they need to be successful,” Young said. “It may be difficult to be one of few honest people, but in the end, you will be happy. It will, without a doubt, be worthwhile.”
Shanell Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.