The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb

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The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This book covers the rather grey area of ethics in the business world. Thought-provoking statements such as Why Ethics Matters and The Future of Ethics are posed by Bibb and she then proceeds to give insight and knowledge into the possible answers.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 232 Date: September 2010
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISBN: 978-0470688533

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Bibb wastes no time in highlighting key areas of the whole ethics debate. What, exactly, does the word mean ... and why should it matter to us anyway? She starts by informing the reader that ethics (which is a branch of philosophy) is usually the poor Cinderella. Overlooked in favour of the more glamorous areas ie: big, fat, profits for the business or businesses concerned. Bibb wants us to think more about the ethical side of things and perhaps less about the balance sheet. She gives an example most of us will be aware of. Two words. Fred Goodwin. Bibb comments that had he applied his moral compass in his leadership role, perhaps, just perhaps, the Royal Bank of Scotland may not have fallen so far from grace. I'm aware that many will now be foaming at the mouth at the mention of FG (myself included).

And she barely gives us time to draw breath when she cites another sorry saga. Politicians and their expenses. Criminal/greed/devious. You decide. Bibb suggests that this is another high-profile illustration of when a moral/ethical compass would have proved very useful, if not downright necessary. Food for thought indeed.

The author then warms to her pet subject and all things ethical. Most of us will be familiar with the retailer, The Body Shop and of the organization Fairtrade. The good news is that the latter is growing in the public psyche and awareness. More and more companies want to embrace that label. This is good news. This is the way of the future, say Bibb. And I found her, at times, even evangelical about her message. I liked that but she did tend to repeat herself now and again, which rather than strengthening the message, diluted it somewhat. Remember, this will be a dry subject for some people and once interest is there, you don't want to run the risk of labouring your point. It is page after page of text, relieved only by the odd graph or two. Fine, if you are truly interested in the subject matter but if you're not ... Some people may even wonder what all the fuss is about. I wanted Bibb to shout out her message a little louder but also a little quicker.

At the risk of perhaps boring some readers, ethics can be broadly broken into two: the social and the personal. Both have their own grey areas and both can be problematic in terms of trying to do the right thing for the right reason. We find out that our own ethical code of conduct is usually in-built from an early age. Bibb goes into this in detail and debates pros and cons. Let's look at a simple example. We take a few pens home from the office. No big deal. Everyone does it. Wrong. It is a big deal and it is dishonest, unethical behaviour. Just because everyone else does it doesn't mean to say that you have to do it (we're back to MPs expenses again). But of course it takes courage to stand up and be counted, as it were. Not all of us will be able to do that. Whistle-blowers in the past have often been given a rough ride in the media for 'doing the right thing' as they saw it.

And if there are all these annoying grey areas, then get it on a more open basis, more black and white. We need to educate ourselves about a difficult subject. Companies need to take the lead and set up ethics mentors and even ethics help-lines, for example. We ignore all of this at our peril. Notes, further reading and appendix all feature as you may expect. A terrific message but less than terrifically put over, I'm afraid.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeas then you may well enjoy The Unwritten Laws of Business by W J King and James G Skakoon.

Buy The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Right Thing: An Everyday Guide to Ethics in Business by Sally Bibb at Amazon.com.


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