Bridge over ocean
1 May 2005 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 61, Issue 3

Monkey Business: A Neo-Darwinist Approach to Ethics Codes

  1. John Dobson

Contrary to the dictates of homo economicus, to be guided by a code of ethics does not entail sacrificing one's self-interest; rather, it entails correctly defining one's self-interest as a professional. A genuine concern for others, which is the theme of any sound code of ethics, is a natural human drive. An organizational culture that recognizes and nurtures this drive through the active implementation of an ethics code—from top management on down—is a successful one. If the code is grounded in the correct definition of professionalism as commitment to the profession and to the community, those guided by the code will be successful professionals. In the business jungle, as in the primeval jungle, the keys to success are honesty, fair dealing, and cooperation. Man is a social animal.

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