By Manju Gupta
Being Ethical: Ethics as the Foundation of Business, S Manikutty, Random House, Pp 241(PB), Rs 299
Business ethics has acquired an important dimension with increasing cases of corruption and scandals in the world of business, as for instance, with Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing and Satyam. Some blame it on the doors of business schools, while management thinkers and scholars indulge in introspection, wondering whether they are responsible for the current state of affairs and whether they can do something about it.
Many adopt a position today that businesses are not solely for earning profits and for enhancing shareholders’ value; they use ethics as one of their foundations for doing business.
The book introduces the reader to the notion of business ethics, the issues involved and the dilemmas in trying to manage ethically. Business ethics have many dimensions, and these are interlinked. Thus it examines each of these dimensions, their linkages and the dilemmas involved in each. Thus what the book stresses is that every manager has the obligation to ensure that the business is run not only on commercially sound lines but also on ethically sound lines.
Also it does not adopt a step-by-step-guide-to-ethics approach to arrive at solutions; what it seeks to do is to take up the different dimensions in the business ethics and explore the present issues that arise. There are ethical issues in dealing with customers, employees, competitors, the community and the large society. The book looks at ethical dilemmas rather than ethical problems with a solution.
This book sees ethics as not just an optional area, but as the foundation for running a business in the long run and examines the problems and challenges in doing so. Running a business ethically is better in the long run for business because it enhances the credibility of the management; it increases the trust reposed in the management and it reduces costs, especially the transaction costs involved in drawing up elaborate contracts and fighting expensive battles.
This book is meant for the vast majority of managers who confront dilemmas, grapple with the issues and seek a better understanding on the ethical issues involved in business as well as personal life.
(Random House Publishing India Pvt Ltd, Windsor IT Park, 7th Floor, Tower B, A-1 sector 125,Noida-201301; www.randomhouse.co.in)
A discovery of an Indian
At the Wedding, Aruna Jethwani, Promilla & Co., Publishers with Bibliophile South Asia, Pp 269 (PB), Rs 295
This is a story about Ram and his wife Laxmi who observe their daughter Anuradha engaged in deep meditation and doing the Buddhist chants. She had been a bubbly young girl full of life and game for everything – picnics, dramatics and debates when young in school and a party animal. But just within a year’s time, when she is in the third year of her commerce studies, she becomes a recluse and sinks into silence as if shocked and stunned. She is seen sitting in the balcony, watching the setting sun, and struggling with something – “the struggle to rationalise and win over the heart; the struggle to eschew it all.” These struggles are like “hidden whirlpools in the stream, invisible but frightening all the same.”
Ram takes a practical attitude and tells his wife, “Anuradha is 19; let her work out her own equations.”
Ram and Laxmi want their daughter to be married and suggest many proposals but she refuses to give any attention to them saying, “I have already chosen my soul-mate. I chose him before I was born…he will come.”
Time flows; seasons change. One day Anuradha announces her decision to marry as she has found her soul-mate. The marriage is fixed to take place in Bhadran where Anuradha’s grandmother lives for sentimental reasons. A whole panorama of Sindhi and Gujarati culture opens up here. The story unfolds the filial bonds, the desires of the diaspora to touch the roots; of the migrants and emigrants to grow open roots; of alienation and identity crisis. The characters of the novel, the local social setup and the rich traditions interact to highlight the pathos and pain of displaced people; the nostalgia and emotional problems of the minority communities and the great historical process of social and cultural synthesis.
The book ends on a note of prophecy hinting at the unification of the two countries of the subcontinent.
(Promilla & Co., Publishers, C-127 Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi-110017; www.biblioasia.com)