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In this intriguing book, a Harvard Business School professor argues that "ethical standards, set by top management and fostered throughout the organization, can act to supercharge the engine of corporate performance." Aguilar is less concerned with articulating the specifics of what a company's credo should be than with helping put it in place and making sure it sticks--and he provides numerous policies and case studies that illustrate his proposals. He realizes that no single action is the answer: senior management must develop an ethical sensitivity, but strong business leadership is equally important. "Poor operating performance invites cutting close to the line of acceptable behavior." With senior management on board, he then turns to instituting a broad-based business ethics program and finally to attracting and fostering ethical employees. Aguilar's ideas and arguments are praiseworthy and a valuable addition to the growing literature on business ethics. Illustrations not seen by PW. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Aguilar, a Harvard professor of business administration, has conducted an in-depth survey of corporate ethics programs in effect at various businesses and turns the results of his study into this practical manual for those who wish to institute similar programs. To succeed, Aguilar explains, four factors must exist. Management must already have a sensitivity to ethical issues, the company must be well managed, a program must be established, and the organization must recruit (and retain) ethical people. Aguilar argues that corporate ethics in practice is not the bothersome impediment some might imagine but, rather, in his words, a "supercharger to sales and profits," effectively motivating employees by reducing personal risk and providing organizational support. David Rouse