Troy, N.Y. – What is technology’s role in abetting well-publicized ethical lapses from Enron to AIG?

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management & Technology recently hosted an inaugural program titled “Forum on Business, Technology and Ethics” to discuss the matter. Albert Erisman, founder and director of the Institute for Business, Technology and Ethics, and director of the Center for Integrity in Business at the School of Business and Economics, Seattle Pacific University, served as the program’s moderator.

“Ethics is a natural element of human behavior and choice, and those in leadership positions are thrust into situations that force them to make trade-offs that influence the lives of others,” said David Gautschi, dean of the Lally School. “Some of the lapses are induced by the exploitation of advancing technology which naturally alienates people in organizations large and small, and the uncertainly that technology exploitation often presents the decision-maker at any level in an enterprise with novel choices.” 

Erisman, who also serves as the editor for Ethix, a publication providing illustrations of business ethics challenges through examples of best practices and exemplary leadership, suggested “mission-oriented leadership” as his solution to preventing ethics breakdowns.

The discussion also featured former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.) and Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. The annual event is sponsored by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at the Lally School, and is designed to promote engagement among students, faculty, scholars and business practitioners.

Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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