Albert Chan (PhD, USC), a Talbot alum, on business ethics:
The mere identification of immoral behavior is often unproductive and ineffective. A Ph.D. in business ethics is not required to decide that Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme is wrong. Professional business ethicists are not needed to confirm that the reward from Munich Re, the world’s biggest insurer, of top sales representatives with prostitutes is unethical. What’s interesting is exploring the respective issues affecting companies on a daily basis–such as moral hazard (risking someone else’s property without taking on the associated responsibility) and how incentives affect corporate morale and production–in order to offer concrete reflection and practical solutions.
Our field excels in looking at acceptable business practices and economic systems requiring further analysis, at marketplace dilemmas which don’t have obvious answers. What are the benefits and drawbacks of capitalism and conservationism? Are sweatshop labor and outsourcing obvious evils? Should transcendent principles or “When in Rome . . .” govern international trade