Phil Francis is executive chairman of PetSmart, Inc. -- the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. Before coming to PetSmart as president and CEO in 1998, Francis was president and chief executive officer of Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc., a subsidiary of J. Sainsbury plc. Recently he was the guest speaker at one of the W. P. Carey School's Executive Luncheons, a series of events designed to bring the corporate leaders to an audience of undergraduate students. Before his talk, Francis met with Josh Bowman, a junior majoring in marketing and the executive director of the luncheon series. Speaking from experience gained during a long career, Francis addressed the character qualities that underpin a successful life. You don't have to be a student facing graduation to benefit from his ideas. Your Career, Our Economy: Stakes Are High When Finance Professionals Let Ethics Slide
Bernie Madoff. AIG. Allen Stanford. When Marianne Jennings talks to her undergraduate students about business ethics these days, those are the subjects they want to talk about. Not surprisingly, Jennings says, the students often take a somewhat black-and-white view of things: Madoff was a crook; Stanford was a swindler; those execs at AIG were reckless, irresponsible, and had absolutely no right to take those big bonuses -- not after the carnage they caused. Blame it on the executives, the students say. It's the guys in the executive suite who can't be trusted. Not so fast, says Jennings. The lesson to be learned, she says, isn't that executives have to act more ethically. Instead, it's that everyone must act more ethically. Sandra Day O'Connor: Where Judges Can Be Bought and Sold
The story sounds just like a John Grisham novel: The CEO of a West Virginia energy company spent more than $3 million to help a relative unknown unseat the incumbent and become a judge on the state's Supreme Court. Later, that same judge, after refusing to recuse himself, cast the deciding vote on two decisions overruling verdicts against the energy company -- verdicts now worth $82 million. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor isn't shy about her opinion on the matter -- states should do away with judicial elections in order to restore independence to their courts, she said recently at an Economic Club of Phoenix luncheon, co-sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU. The Fruits of Integrity: Trust, Influence, Repeat Business
Each of us, as we go about our daily lives, has opportunity after opportunity to make the right choice, John Johnson told audience at the Spark 2008 IT Invitational conference this fall. Living with integrity encompasses deliberate decision-making in all aspects of one's life, he stressed, including relationships and business. Johnson is chief information officer for the popular P.F. Chang's China Bistro chain of restaurants. College Cheating Is Bad for Business
In an age where a new cheating/corruption scandal is front-page news nearly every day -- think Enron, Barry Bonds, Eliot Spitzer, and Marion Jones for starters -- it is perhaps not surprising that dishonesty is a problem on most college campuses. Academic dishonesty, which runs the gamut from plagiarizing to purchasing papers and theses, sharing answers on assignments, taking another's exam, and failing to do work for a team project, is, unfortunately, part of the college experience for many students today. In a recent survey of 5,331 graduate students at 32 universities, 56 percent of the business students and 47 percent of the non-business students admitted to cheating one or more times in the past year. These numbers are an ominous sign for the academic and business communities, say experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business.Helping Others Cook Their Books: It's a Recipe for Disaster
Your company's best corporate customer needs help. Earnings are down. You could help that company's revenues look rosier with a sham transaction. And, why wouldn't you? After all, it's not your company's financial statements you're sweetening. You're just bringing a little aid to the table for someone else. Should you play along? No way, says Marianne Jennings, a professor of legal and ethical studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Even if your own earnings are for real, you could face criminal charges for aiding another company with "creative" accounting. Podcast: Are Millennials Prone to Cheating to Get Ahead?
Many employers are finding that millennials -- employees aged 14 to 31 -- are a new breed. Young, bright, eager and tech savvy, millennials also demand frequent validation, quick rewards and permission to shape the rules to fit their lives. Now academics and employers are wondering if millennials have determined that cutting corners and cheating is an acceptable way of getting ahead. Barbara Keats, associate professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, says cheating has always existed in some form in the business world, but she wonders if millennials are taking it to a new level. Bradley Preber: Aligning Form and Substance to Create an Ethical Business Culture
Marianne Jennings, a professor of legal and ethical studies in business at W. P. Carey School of Business, recently noted that major business scandals used to be spaced about 10 years apart. Unfortunately, the cycle now appears to be compressing. In a recent talk before W. P. Carey MBA Executive students, Bradley Preber, the partner-in-charge of Grant Thornton's Forensic Accounting and Investigative Services practice, said that any company that continues having pervasive and systematic behavior problems with its employees must look at its culture to see if it could be partly what drives that unethical behavior. The Bigger They Are: Ethical Challenges of the Rich and Famous
Think twice about accepting a job with an organization headed by a renowned industry captain, a technological wunderkind or a visionary philanthropist, warns an expert who's studied the downside of charismatic leadership. Business icons become more susceptible to disastrous ethical lapses as their workplace fame spreads, says Marianne Jennings, J.D., a professor of legal and ethical studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business. When the gurus crash and burn, the careers of those around them falter, too. Straight and narrow: Steering an ethical course through international waters
For Marianne Jennings, a healthy market economy depends on four pillars -- business, investors, government and customers. Each relies on the others in a symbiotic relationship that leads to mutual benefit and smooth operations. But when ethical lines are crossed, even in just one of the four areas, everyone is at risk. "If one of these [four groups] falls, the system falls," said Jennings, a professor of legal and ethical studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business, during a recent speech in Mexico City.