Love in Corporate Life? What Balderdash

It is not too difficult to see why virtually no company lists “Love” defined as “caring for others” as part of corporate ethos.

Love demands sacrifice.

Would a corporation be willing to sacrifice their market share for a new competitor? Only if they have an interest in the new competitor, implying there really is no sacrifice.

Within a corporation, a superior performer typically will not say its okay to promote another superior performer if he or she is the employee deserving of promotion. Within corporations, we cannot demand love that connotes sacrifice from employees.

There are spiritual lore full of illustrations, however, of a superior performer willingly giving place to another superior performer because such sacrifice was demanded for the greater good of a society. Consider David a Judaic King and his interactions with Jonathan, a biological heir to the Judaic throne. Jonathan willingly refused to claim the crown for the greater good of society, as such David became King. Clearly, such demands typically do not have any place within a corporation. This perhaps is why at times corporations have toyed with having two CEOs, an experiment that never really has worked.

As I demonstrate in this article, once we take the meaning of the word Love out of other good words such as Integrity, Kindness, Faith, Hope, Patience etc., these words become meaningless in the sense that they are easily perverted for arrival at condoning of bad behavior.

A corporation for instance can have integrity with respect to foistering of ‘less than promised’ product quality on consumers, have faith and hope that it will get away with its actions, and patiently implement the adopted fraudulent strategy that facilitates increases in profits in the short term. Since managers of corporations are judged on profits for the most part, without love in the picture, the incentive to take advantage of the consumer in order to protect or increase market share always is a tempting incentive. While we may argue that corporations are supposed to love consumers, the problem is attempts at making sacrifices for the consumer, which typically involve truth telling, always are helpful for competitors. Since love helps competitors, corporations act rationally whenever they choose not to love consumers.

It is recognition of perverse incentives generated by inability to demand love from corporations that has led to labor laws that protect employees, laws that protect labor mobility, and product standards that are enforced by Governments.

The ethos behind all of the available protections?

While love cannot be demanded of corporations, the same cannot be said of Governments. Governments by definition are expected to love their citizens or residents, as such are required to protect them from exploitation.

If consumers are willing to pay higher prices for higher quality products, perverse incentives induced by inability to demand love from corporations are mitigated because profitability incentives are aligned with product quality. In absence of a government that independently conducts product tests, however, all corporations can produce lower than promised quality, charge premiums commensurate to some higher level of quality, and regardless develop reputation.

Possibility of perverse incentives in regard of product quality is the reason why subsidies for protection of domestic industries always work better in the long run than absolute protections evident in banning of imports from other countries. Whenever governments ban imports from other countries, domestic producers reap monopoly profits that should be outcomes of product quality competition without any efforts at improvements in product quality. In developing countries especially, protections for industries typically end up in exploitation of consumers. Protections for domestic industries work only in contexts within which protections are simultaneously combined with exports of protected products to countries that have and enforce product quality. An example of a company that improved its product quality via exports to countries that have and enforce product quality is Hyundai.

What is the point of all of this discussion? Let us take any notions of Sacrifice out of the word Love and refer to the outcome of such dismemberment as Ethics Love. For avoidance of doubt, Ethics Love is Love that does not demand any Sacrifice.

It is Governments that introduce “Ethics Love” into interactions within corporations via protections afforded employees, and between corporations via enforcement of patents, copyrights, ISBNs, product quality claims etc. It is partly for these reasons that though imperfect, the USA and United Kingdom remain the best examples of Democracies. While countries of Western Europe and Scandinavia have similar mechanisms in place, such mechanisms typically have been developed within context of some notion of Socialism, as opposed to arising as outcomes of Democratic institutions required for moderation of corporate behavior within market based economies.

How well do you think your Government is doing on the protections dimension? To what extent are the failures of your Government a function of the process via which Government is formed?

In countries that hold elections without introduction of any meaningful intellectual debates between candidates, we are apt to find electoral processes that never produce a democracy — a government that devotes time and energy to creating and enforcing protections for its citizens and residents.

Whenever Governments are for the people, Governments induce corporations to act as if Ethics Love — love that is consistent with impossibility of sacrifice as part of corporate ethos — is an integral part of corporate objectives.

Stripped of the notion of Sacrifice as a desirable component of corporate decision making, Love is a part of corporate ethos, manifesting as Ethics Love and enforced by corporate reputation and Government regulation. In order to avoid confusion that can be induced by the word “Love”, we teach Ethics Love simply as Ethics within context of Business Education.

The next time you get a job offer while still an employee of another corporation, remember this is possible because of Ethics Love that guarantees mobility of labor. Such easy mobility has not always been the case even within the best examples of Democracy that we have in this world.

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If you appreciate importance of Ethics Love within context of interactions between and within corporations, please recommend to your followers.

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