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Friday, July 30, 2010

The common corporate parasite

Ethics in a company is like a parasite that passes on from one level to another. While it is true that being ethical is up to an individual, the implementation in professional life is strongly influenced by the characteristic of our immediate manager and not the company. Do you really believe that a company has a written rule saying: “lie to the customer” or “ Tamper your data as long as you get the money”?

So, how does the worm of unethical operations spread from a single person? What if a strongly righteous person is caught in the middle of it? I believe it can all be explained with a simple flow-chart:

Depending on how ethical a manager is, the thought processes of his sub-ordinates and future leaders spawned are determined (unless they leave the company). Either they successfully convert an analyst, or force them to leave the company.

This is precisely the reason why any consulting firm cannot be called unethical or bogus. Every company has hard-working analysts who struggle to provide more than the expectations of their customer. They are unfortunately overshadowed by the majority of consultants sweet-talking the clients into buying a summary of google findings.

I have had the fortune of working with people belonging in the former category, and hence have a very high opinion of consulting and market research.Generalising a consultant’s Modus Operandi based on a few disillusioned forced-to-be-unethical analysts seems very illogical to me. But I am curious to know if you have a different point of view on this!