Guffey Archived Articles
Business ethicists claim that the recent spate of business leaders, especially bankers, who have admitted to unethical behavior is not surprising. In fact, these experts explain that when rewards are high and risks are low, the brain often gives the green light to cheat. So how to stop unethical corporate cultures that arise from such a natural human response?
Mark Frame, a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University who specializes in workplace psychology, says to begin by communicating solid business values to stakeholders. "If you advertise that you are trying to be ethical, you're going to wind up hiring more ethical people. It's kind of that field of dreams thing: If you build it, they will come," he says.
But words must be followed by actions, so the next step is to thwart unethical behavior. Operating under the tacit rule that "it's okay as long as we're not caught" is insufficient. UC Berkeley professor Barry Staw says companies need to make their stance clear: When employees cross a legal line, they will lose their job and possibly be reported to authorities. Such a strategy invokes fear of punishment over reward for good behavior.
Making ethical choices may not be innate, but people can be taught why making moral choices is ultimately in their best interests, says Dave Mayer, a management professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. He tells his students that the best way to test whether an action is ethical is to ask oneself: Is what I'm planning to do the right thing or is it simply in my own self interest? If the answer is the latter, it's probably not the best way to go.
Discussion: If you were in a corporate culture in which you witnessed cheating, what would you do? How can a business create a culture that encourages its workers to be ethical? Do you think ethics and morality begin at home?
Source: DuBois, S. (2012, July 20). Cheating business minds: How to break the cycle. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/
Gen Y "Whineds" Its Way Through Corporate Culture
More and more organizations are accommodating Gen Y's demands for flextime and quick promotions.
Gen Y will comprise over 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020. To keep business moving, firms will need to hold onto these workers, especially as more Baby Boomers retire. That means giving Gen Y what it demands.
And just what is that? Less bureaucracy and more communication, for one thing. And more taking advantage of their skills and injecting fun into the workplace, for another.
Across the country, firms are changing their policies to hold onto their young workers. One Silicon Valley employer offers more opportunities for young workers to contribute their ideas. A Midwest firm guarantees recent grads a promotion within one year. A Boston firm even changed its 8 a.m. start time to help young workers who have a long commute. The same firm now provides its younger employees with immediate feedback instead of quarterly appraisals as it had done before.
However, such coddling doesn't go over well with older workers, some of whom find themselves out of a job if they can't adapt to the changes being made to accommodate their younger counterparts.
Discussion: Do you think workers are more productive in a 9-to-5 workplace than in one with more flexible hours? What can young workers learn from their older colleagues? How can a young worker show respect for an older employee but still affect change in a company's culture?
Source: Kwoh, L. (2012, Aug. 22). Firms bow to generation Y's demands. Wall St. Journal, p. B6.
Bye, Bye, Business Suits—Hello Designer Dresses
Once the purview of the rich and famous, designer dresses are increasingly showing up in unexpected places: corporate boardrooms. In Silicon Valley boardrooms, that is.
Women in the tech world have a hard time in a male-dominated industry better known for CEOs accessorizing with the latest gadget instead of donning haute couture. But as more women break into the once all-male industry, some are embracing fashion.
New York designers are eager to embrace this affluent client base. At a recent party featuring Chanel, its president, John Galantic, chose to dine with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and One King's Lane co-founder Alison Pincus instead of Hollywood stars in attendance.
New York's Alice & Olivia, a designer brand known for its quirky and bold apparel, recently opened a San Francisco store with a line that caters to women in tech positions. "Women in the tech world aren't confined to wearing a standard black suit, so they can have more fun with their day clothes," says Stacey Bendet Eisner, the brand's designer. "They also want an element of sophistication to their clothes because they want to be taken seriously."
Some female tech managers are chucking their jeans and flip flops precisely so they do stand out. "When it's a sea of young guys in jeans and hoodies, and the V.C.'s are in their khakis and button-down uniforms, it's kind of a benefit to be different," said Ms. Gouw Ranzetta, an investor at a venture capital firm. Silicon Valley has no "uniform," she says, allowing its women to have more "fashion fun." And that may just lure more women into the technology field.
"I believe the way we'll get more ... women into computer science is by making it really clear that you can be yourself and don't need to give up parts of yourself to succeed," said Mayer. "You can be into fashion and you don't have to be the pasty white programmer with a pocket protector staying up all night."
Discussion: How can you know what to wear to a new job? Why is it a bad idea to overdress at some organizations? In which industries would wearing conservative business attire be appropriate?
Source: Miller, C. (2012, Aug. 3). Techies break a fashion taboo. New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com
Six Tips to Nailing a Job in a Tough Market
While the economy has been slow to add jobs, recent CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.com surveys indicate that more than half of employers plan to hire recent college grads. Grant Cardone is a New York Times best-selling author who offers these tips for being one of the lucky ones who lands a job.
1. Be positive. Sure, competition and unemployment are rampant, but you don't need 17 million jobs. All you need is one!2. Make no excuses. Don't wait for success to come to you. Market yourself, network, perfect your application materials. Make your own luck.3. Focus your search. Target specific businesses, not industries as a whole. Locate an individual within that business and contact him or her via Facebook, LinkedIn, or e-mail. Such initiative often leads to connections that pay off.4. Hone your interviewing skills. A résumé will never land you a job. Show your personality and willingness to work hard in the interview.5. Convey enthusiasm. Tell the potential employer you want to work there. Show you are willing to roll up your sleeves and bring your talents to the company immediately.6. Create an impression. You are selling yourself in an interview. Do your homework about the organization. Show professionalism. Exude confidence and illustrate how you are the best person for the job.
Discussion: What are some ways you can prepare for an interview? Why is it important to learn as much about an organization as you can before an interview? What research tools can you use to help locate specific businesses at which you would like to work?
Source: Acosta, S. (2012). 6 tips for getting hired in a tough job market. Careerrookie.com. Retrieved from careerrookie.com
After Interview Actions are Crucial
Never underestimate the importance of following up after an interview. Beth Gilfeather is founder of Seven Step Recruiting in Boston and offers advice that can help seal the deal.
1. Compose an effective thank-you note. E-mails are perfect because they can arrive quickly and are less likely to get lost. But if the potential employer is an old-fashioned type, a handwritten note may be the best choice. Make sure to send a note to each person you spoke with, and send it within 24-36 hours after the interview. If you go on several interviews, send notes after each one.
2. Don't overdo the follow through. If you haven't heard anything about the job by the date you were told you would, wait one more week before you send an e-mail. If no date was supplied, send a follow up e-mail one week after the interview. A delay does not always mean disinterest.
3. Keep up your pursuit even if you did not get the job. If you are truly interested in the organization, continue to look for openings by following it on social media.
Discussion: How can you be certain about names, titles, and e-mail addresses of the people with whom you interview? How frequently should you contact a potential employer with e-mails or phone calls? What's the line between being persistent and annoying?
Source: Schiavone, K. (2012, June 24). Foot-in-door syndrome? Los Angeles Times, p. B4.