In recent decades, social responsibility and ethics have been becoming more and more important to the public, and this has been accelerating even more in the most recent years with an emphasis that companies should not only focus on the performance and financial gains of shareholders, but also act in a manner that benefits the whole society. The organization has to be able to recognize what is ‘right’ and not just what is ‘lawful’. Failing in this area might lead to a loss of customers and bad publicity/reputation because the public is expecting the organization to have a positive impact on both the society and environment as a whole, instead of solely focusing on the quality of service or product.
Week 6 of this course brought students to take a look at how one of the world’s largest companies, Siemens, faced corruption head-on in 2008. The case of Siemens was marked as the biggest corruption case of the time (involving $1.4 billion in bribes to government officials in various continents), and Siemens chose Peter Loscher who is outside the company to take over leadership as CEO to tackle the situation. Under a series of actions such as the changes at the top, new compliance program and organizational changes, Siemens successfully pursued a clean business. Throughout the discussion, students learnt about the occurrence of corruption, using Siemens as a reference, to explore how the company addressed and recovered from it.
The case selected by Dr. Hazeem for today’s class is a multimedia case, which enables students to review actual documents, watch videos of experts and former Siemens employees and read the campaign products. This enables first-hand experience of the organizational corruption issue in an effort to learn from the change management process at Siemens and understand the strategic role that ethics must play in global management.