This year the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) celebrates 30 years of promoting high standards of business behaviour based on ethical values. 1986 was the year of the Big Bang – the deregulation of the City of London. The Big Bang radically changed the way the London Stock Exchange operated, doing away with much of what was seen by critics as an ‘old boys’ network’ and internationalising London’s financial markets.
The IBE was established at that time by a group of business people, concerned that the replacement of long-term relational business with a greater emphasis on short-term transactions would erode the City’s tenet of ‘my word is my bond’.
IBE’s Director, Philippa Foster Back CBE, said: “The business people who founded the IBE foresaw the ethical implications for business of a globalised world, with technological advances developing at a faster and faster pace. They established the IBE as a hub for discussion, research and practical advice to promote high standards of business behaviour based on ethical values.
Thirty years on and, although the issues may have changed, ethical business practice continues to be a challenge. This is why, in our 30th anniversary year, we will be bringing the discussion of business ethics issues and challenges debate to you in new ways – with events, video, publications and culminating in celebrating ’30 days of Ethics’ in November.”
The IBE launches its 30th year with a monthly series of videos – Pearls of Wisdom – from their Research Director, Simon Webley. Pearls are the traditional gift for a 30th anniversary as they are formed over many years.
Simon said: “When I first began researching and surveying business people about business ethics in the 1970s, issues such as bribery, price collusion, product safety and insider dealing were just beginning to emerge. Businesses then did not talk the language of ethics – values, responsibility, and integrity. Corporate Codes of Ethics were a rarity, if they existed at all.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the business ethics landscape has evolved considerably; indeed guidance to staff in the form of a Codes of Ethics is now commonplace. The challenge today for company leaders is to embed their values and ethics into decision-making and support employees to do the right thing.”
Each month leading up to the 30 Days of Ethics celebration in November, the IBE will be releasing one of Simon’s Pearls of Wisdom.
The first video “What is business ethics?” is available here.