S.J. Quinney College of Law, Borchard Conference Room
Generalizations without substantiations should be considered with skepticism. The generalizations to be presented in this project should be no exception. It is hoped, however, that these generalizations will foster conversation, invite critical viewpoints, and motivate future research to explore for the truth.
Business ethics, in the context of this paper, will be considered in terms of the values (personal and practical) one brings to the transacting table, not business ethics in terms of those universal, principled truths that guide our lives. I am interested in those cultural and historical characteristics that particular peoples incorporate in their lives which ultimately impact how they conduct business or trading activities.
We will hypothesize (and generalize) that the American Indian before the advent of the white European on North American soil embodied a set of cultural characteristics which were, at least partially, the result of their familial and tribal relationships. We will hypothesize (and generalize) that the European also embodied a set of cultural characteristics which were, at least partially, the result of their religious and legal relationships. We will hypothesize (and generalize) that these cultures were destined to conflict in any number of ways with the end results being loss of trust, anger towards broken promises, demotivation towards commercial activity and, in some cases, war.
If these generalizations provide opportunities to expand our understanding of other peoples of long ago, then the journey will have been worth it. If contemporary commercial activity is increasingly approached with the knowledge of the lessons of the past, perhaps longer lasting, and mutually beneficial, relationships can be created. Not a bad end to hope for.
Speaker: Calvin Boardman
Comments: Tony Anghie
Moderator: Deen Chatterjee
Calvin M. Boardman, Professor Emeritus of Finance, retired in 2013 as the Daniels Fund Chair in Business Ethics, Professor of Finance at the David Eccles School of Business, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. He directed the Bill Daniels Ethics Initiative at the David Eccles School of Business as a part of a four state consortium of schools which receive funding from the Daniels Fund located in Denver, Colorado. His book, Foundations of Business Thought, is the cornerstone of a course by the same name which is offered to all campus undergraduates. Over 28,000 students have taken this course at the U since its creation in 1993. The students study the classics from literature, poetry, philosophy, history, economics, business, film, etc. in order to understand the nature of business at its most intimate – the individual values which motivate and guide people – and at its most grand – how markets work and why the fields of accounting, finance, marketing, management, and production are important to business.