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Philosophy for Business
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ISSN 2043-0736

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Daniel Silvermintz

Tom C. Veblen

Marco Senatore

Peter S Borkowski

Dena Hurst

Sean Jasso


Geoffrey Klempner

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P H I L O S O P H Y   F O R   B U S I N E S S           ISSN 2043-0736

Issue number 44
17th March 2008


I. 'Am I Right? Or Am I Right?' by Simon Geschwindt, reviewed by Rachel Browne

II. 'Traditional/ Conventional Models, Theories, and Practices which Drive
Leadership Attitudes and Actions Regarding Organizational Development and
Relations' by Heidi Gregory-Mina

III. 'On the Definition of Bribery' by John Pullin

IV. 'Community and Individual Development Association City Campus' by
Dumisani Dladla



This is a bumper issue of P4B with four articles rather than the usual three.
The diverse contributions reflect the remarkable spread of interest in the
philosophy of business, from ethics and leadership training, to academic
research, to the sharp and of marketing, to the streets of Soweto.

However, I detect a common theme which runs through all the articles: the
desire for radical reappraisal and the belief that traditional models and
philosophies are insufficient for coping with the task of adjusting to a
society and a business world which is changing at every-increasing speed.

Simon Geschwindt from the organization Dialogue Works has written a book on
ethical decision making which seeks to overturn the traditional model of
ethical codes and rules. In her review, Rachel Browne brings out the central
role for Geschwindt of individual responsibility and dialogue which is
paramount to the capacity of any organization, business or otherwise, to make
wise decisions in the face of ethical challenges.

Heidi Gregory-Mina offers an  informative guide through the forest of
contemporary academic literature on issues around knowledge management and
leadership practices, once again highlighting the importance of the individual
and interpersonal dialogue as the lynchpin of a company's capacity to adapt to
change, which prioritises fluidity over a static view of information as well as
recognizing the crucial importance of tacit knowledge.

John Pullin's essay on bribery can be seen as another take on the idea that
promulgated ethical principles fall short of the reality of business practice,
making a provocative case for reappraising some of the practices which we
unthinkingly pigeonhole as 'bribery'.

The CIDA City Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa is a remarkable experiment
in tertiary education, offering Business degrees to disadvantaged students who
would never have been able to study within the traditional academic system.
CIDA student Dumisani Dladla offers a valuable insight into the holistic
philosophical thinking behind the CIDA project.

Geoffrey Klempner



 Am I Right? Or Am I Right? An Introduction to Ethical Decision Making
By Simon Geschwindt
DW Publications 2008

Despite the seemingly arrogant title, Simon Geschwindt is Head of
Communications at the UK ethics consultancy, Dialogue Works Ltd and has both
practical knowledge of training people in ethics as well as a philosophical
theoretical background, so confidence would seem to be justified.

Geschwindt's background is in the humanities, and this, together with his
practical knowledge of ethical training, makes the book wide-ranging. The
appearance is more of a collation of studies than a standard text book.

The book starts with a description of 'dilemma training'. Dilemma training is a
precisely defined six-step method of ethical decision making which has been
successfully used by many organisations in Northern Europe.

Dilemma training urges people not act in accordance with authority, but to
think for themselves:

     Ask yourself 'is what I am doing morally right?' Justifying
     actions by appealing to authorities is a betrayal. 'I was
     only obeying orders', 'Everyone does it, 'I had no choice',
     'My religion dictates it', 'It's a tradition', 'It's always
     been like that' are not ethical reasons; these are excuses.

More properly, ethical decision making is a matter of developing moral
integrity and training oneself to act in an ethical way which means taking into
account consequences of one's decision, taking the interests of all
'stake-holders' -- people affected by the decision including oneself -- into
account, and making use of empathy.

This is highly commonsensical and supports the point of view that business
codes of conduct don't produce ethical employees who can rise to the challenge
of a dilemma. Ethical behaviour needs to be internalised, or to become a habit,
and a written code of conduct is merely a set of external rules which are
expected to be followed. They might even not even exist for that purpose.

An individual needs moral awareness and personal integrity because, for
instance 'whether or not to blow the whistle -- cannot be dealt with adequately
by a code of conduct'. Without moral awareness, an individual might not even be
aware that they are facing a moral dilemma.

So Geschwindt is supporting ethical training in this six step programme of
decision making, which includes thinking about consequences and others involved
in the outcome of a decision. The process seems pretty straight forward and
reflects most ordinary descriptions of ethical decision making.

What seems most important is how it is taught. This is within a community of
enquiry. An individual isn't instructed, but engages in dialogue with other
employees, as well as being guiding in decision making. Within a community of
enquiry issues that were not previously discussed become open for discussion
and this increases ethical awareness. Since the idea of being ethical on one's
own is impossible and ethics takes place within society, the idea of a
community of enquiry as an environment in which to learn ethical intuition
resonates as more likely to be successful in encouraging ethical behaviour than
a code.

Geschwindt didn't develop the idea of the six step programme and the community
of enquiry himself. 'The method was originally developed by the European
Institute for Business Ethics at the University of Nyenrode in the Netherlands
and was adapted for application in government departments by Governance and
Integrity of Amsterdam, and in Britain and Eire' by the company for which
Geschwindt works. Geschwindt claims that it has been 'successfully employed by
local government, the armed forces, inland revenue and the police'.

Geschwindt gives a powerful, and extreme, example of the armed forces actually
operating outside of ethical considerations.

The example is from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968. Soldiers involved
in the massacre are on record as claiming that the slaughter of 'babies, women,
old men, people who are unarmed helpless' was known to be held as wrong in the
US, but out in Vietnam at the time 'it didn't matter'. Stakeholders, the
innocent who were killed, were not regarded as stakeholders at all, nor were
the citizens of the US who would not condone such behaviour.

It was probably not in the soldiers' own interests in their position as
stakeholders to have raped, tortured and killed. It is likely that some
suffered adverse psychological consequences. The soldiers acted as a group:
There was no individual moral responsibility and no place for personal
integrity. As a group, the soldiers turned ethical values upside down: Cruelty
and barbarism could be seen as heroic.

The point is not that the massacre wouldn't have had happened if the soldiers
had obeyed orders, as Geschwindt holds that reference to 'authorities can be an
excuse for not thinking for yourself'. In the armed forces there is probably
limited scope for thinking for oneself, but this can also be the case in the
business arena. The point is that the primary elements involved in ethical
behaviour were totally missing and the result was an atrocity.

It is difficult to imagine ethics being actually subverted like this in a
business corporation, so it might be held that a massacre by the armed forces
in wartime is irrelevant. It is not irrelevant, but a surprising example.
However, this book does leap between realms of thought and disparate ethical

The My Lai example comes after a section of the book about the increase in the
number of business consultants in the US today. The next section of the book is
on media ethics, outlining the values held by Britain's National Union of
Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. The book then
moves on to it's penultimate part in which it outlines an eclectic mix of
philosophical dilemmas including whether or not animals suffer and whether
science can be seen as 'playing God', whether or not to fear death (this latter
doesn't seem to be a moral issue, but one of rationality) -- questions which are
a far cry from the six step-programme for decision making as developed in the
University of Nyenrode. The final part looks at the use of literature as
enabling moral understanding and then outlines the history of ethical
decision-making starting with the Ancient Greeks.

The final chapters are fair, logical and interesting, but for those concerned
with business ethics the sections on dilemma training will be found to be the
most relevant. It wasn't clear to me what each step in the six-step
decision-making programme is, but the principle is that a facilitator will take
leaders and employees through the steps teaching a decision-making process that
can be used in a wide variety of situations. Since not every situation is
covered by principles, and values and principles can conflict -- hence the
dilemma -- the six step programme aims to create morally fit people who can
make effective judgements which will also enable them to explain themselves
rationally after a decision is made.

The facilitator will introduce case studies for discussion which encourages
dialogue, openness and understanding between employees. As mentioned, it has
been found that subjects which were taboo in an organisation can be brought up
for discussion in such sessions. This openness increases the moral awareness of
the individual which amounts to increasing moral awareness of the company as a
whole, thereby obviating the need for codes of ethics as a set of rules for
employees to abide by.

Against this, it might be suggested that the public might want to know what a
company's code of conduct is, although it is difficult to see why this should
be so since a code of conduct is simply a written aim which isn't necessarily
put into practice. A code of conduct can amount to a public relations exercise,
whereas the six step programme is concerned not with a corporation's public
image, but with the moral integrity of the employees. As such, it will lead to
an encouragement in whistle-blowing.

Since many employees are reluctant to whistle-blow when there is a risk of
losing their jobs, this form of moral training in decision making lends such
employees support. If all employees are ethically aware the whistle-blower is
less likely to be accused of disloyalty to the company or colleague.

It seems difficult to find fault with the idea of training in ethical decision
making over rules, codes of conduct and blindly obeying orders. However there
is a radical aspect to Geschwindt's position, which is probably to be expected
on reading the disclaimer at the beginning of the book:

     The author's views and opinions expressed in this book are
     personal, and are not necessarily shared by his employer
     Dialogue Works and/ or its associates.

Geschwindt's own view of leadership might be taken as undermining the very idea
of leadership. Employees are expected to be 'thinking for themselves'.
Geschwindt's personal view is that 'The industry leaders of the future will be
those who have developed critical thinkers at all levels of their
organisations'. A good leader is no longer the 'person with the right answers'.
It isn't made clear whether or not this is the orthodox position in dilemma
training/ the six step position, but it would surely follow.

I would have thought a 'good leader' would mean a leader with exceptional
critical thinking skills and a great deal of moral integrity, and one would
suppose that such a person may very well have the right answers. However,
training employees in ethical decision-making isn't necessarily incompatible
with strong leadership.

It is difficult for me to think of anyone who would not be in sympathy with
Geschwindt's personal stances or fail to appreciate his logic, fairness and
liberalism although a pro-Northern European and anti-American stance shines
through which might not be appreciated by all.

Although the book doesn't contain much reference to specific research, it does
contain interesting quotes. For instance,'The greatest resistance to the
training comes from lawyers,' says Heleen de Koningh:

     Lawyers nearly always focus on rules. They seem to think
     that the whole world is, or can be, organised in rules, and
     that therefore you don't need integrity training. Then you
     have to explain to them that personal relationships,
     including in the workplace, cannot be covered by rules, and
     furthermore, that rules are nearly always reactive -- after
     the events they are supposed to control.

As a Northern European I might be biased in recommending this book. As someone
who has studied law and sat next to a person in an exam who was cheating, I
might be wrong to do so as perhaps the de Koningh quote does not always apply.
On the other hand, perhaps not all law students think cheating is against the
rules, which is a worrying thought.

Values are never rejected in this book. Values are not rules, but subjectively
held ideas of what is good and within a community of enquiry, through dialogue,
we can adjust our values through better understanding.

(c) Rachel Browne 2008





Social epistemology is a focal point of strategic management research (Nonaka &
Nishiguchi, 2001) because of the increase of information available to society
(Goldman, 1999). This increase of information has changed individuals and
organizational knowledge by providing them with more information to make
decisions (Gray, 2007). 

Some individuals believe social systems create knowledge, but others disagree
and believe knowledge is created along a cyclical pattern (Johannessen,
Olaisen, & Olsen, 2002). The cyclical pattern has three steps: first, sensory
data is absorbed; second, the data is converted into information; and finally,
information becomes knowledge when acted upon (Johannessen, Olaisen, & Olsen,

An individual is not able 'to express knowledge... without language' (du Toit,
2003, p.29). Du Toit (2003) believes a shared language 'reflects the
epistemological belief that the world is... perceived through the particular
forms [shared] language creates' (p. 30). However, 'technological
transformations' have impacted language by 'changing the way in which learning
is acquired, classified, made available and exploited' (Sarup, 1993, p.133).

Each individual's personality is known as the self, which processes and
interprets stimuli based on past experiences (du Toit, 2003). According to Kuhn
(1996), some philosophers question the validity of using past experiences to
interpret stimuli because with the accumulation of research, it becomes
increasingly difficult to answer questions. However, Kuhn (1996) believes that
'rather than seeking the permanent contributions... to our present vantage,'
society needs to 'display the historical integrity... in its own time' (p. 3).
The interpretation of stimuli based on past experiences reflects reality for an
individual (du Toit, 2003). 'Language... provides [the] structure' for reality,
but philosophers also recognize the limitations of language and its inability
to portray reality with a 'single array of words' (du Toit, 2003, p.32).

Traditional epistemology is the 'quest for truth, reason, and objectivity,' but
according to 'Derrida and others... we can never know anything at all' because
'truth, reality, meaning and knowledge... [is] always shifting and unstable'
(Sarup, 1993, p.97). In addition, social epistemology threatens traditional
epistemology because 'social factors... cripple the prospect of anybody
ascertaining truth' (Goldman, 1999, p.viii). However, Goldman (1999) believes
'social practices can make both positive and negative contributions to
knowledge. The task is to show just which social practices, under what
conditions, will promote knowledge rather than subvert it' (p. viii).

The remainder of this paper will look at some of the traditional/ conventional
models, theories, and practices embodied in philosophy, culture, and common
sense that we typically draw on and make use of in creating a realistic,
objective picture of ourselves and the world in which we live, and how this
drives leadership attitudes and actions regarding organizational development
and relations with employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

 Models, Theories and Practices

The world is changing 'faster than our ability to understand it,' and as
society grasps to understand the changes, prior 'beliefs and explanations might
be challenged, but may also remain alongside new ones' (McKernon, 2002, para.
2), a view which is known as post-modernism, 'a name for diverse attempts to
explain and deal with complexity and change' (para. 3).

The postmodernist condition arose from technological advances and an increasing
concern for handling these new technologies and their impact on knowledge.
Knowledge in the postmodern period is being used as a source of power (Sarup,
1993), but the concern lies with an individual's ability to validate knowledge;
requires workers with a higher level of cognitive skills (Vaishampayan, 2006)
because of 'the miniaturization and commercialization of machines' (Sarup,
1993. p.133). Srivasta et al. (1990) expands on this definition by stating that
individuals 'not only [need to] critique debilitating assumptions and practices
but... open the world to new and untold... possibilities beginning with the
powerful premise that the future is opportunity, not destiny' (p. 7).

Deconstruction is one vehicle of this avenue of opportunity' (Summers, Boje,
Dennehy, & Rosile, 1997, p.344). 'Deconstruction expands, opens up, and
encourages a limitless number of interpretations' by tearing apart 'points...
to reveal its assumptions [and] contradictions' (p. 345).

Society desires to understand change so the individual can change his or her
knowledge base (Goldman, 1999) to improve upon current knowledge skills by
absorbing new information (du Toit, 2003). Post-modernism helps organizations
deal with complexity and change, because post-modernism is 'oriented towards
dynamic strategies' (McKernon, 2002, para. 19). Dynamic strategies look at
consumer 'styles' and 'strategies' rather than 'consumer motivations' because
'motivations' are individualistic, whereas, 'styles' and 'strategies' arise
from societal 'consensus' allowing organizations to meet the needs of a larger
consumer base (McKernon, 2002, para. 19-20).

Consumer needs are important because of the vast options that technology has
made available to them (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007) making first- and
second-order values critical for organizations. First-order values 'represent a
management philosophy...  for governing the corporation' derived from what is
best for consumers, clients, and so on and is the foundation for establishment
of an enduring corporation (Giblin & Amuso, 1997, p.16). Second-order values
are derived from first-order values and are the operative values of an
organization (Giblin & Amuso, 1997).

When second-order values are not derived from first-order values, a
misalignment occurs between the financial goals of the corporation and the
corporation's values, and this also leads to a lack of trust among employees
(Giblin & Amuso, 1997). Misalignment also occurs when corporate 'values are
constantly adapted to suit prevailing circumstances... which are not... rooted
in philosophical convictions about the role of the corporation' (p. 14). Whalen
and Samaddar (2001) expand on this by introducing a new 'discipline...
post-modern management science,' which brings together the 'power of soft
computing and knowledge management' (p. 291).

'The traditional discipline of management science views the application of
computational methods or organizational decision making in terms of four key
organizing questions: What's best, What's next?, What if... ?, What's my best
bet?' (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001, p.292). These four questions follow a 'linear
manner,' which most individuals use to solve problems (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001,

First, our society identifies an issue, which is converted into a puzzle that
can be solved (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001). However, understanding the definition
of a puzzle is critical to finding a solution (Kuhn, 1996). A true puzzle has
an 'assured existence of a solution' (p. 36). For example, 'a cure for cancer
or the design of a lasting peace, are often not puzzles... because they may not
have any solution' (p. 36-37). Next, models are developed to solve the puzzle,
and once the puzzle is solved, the solution has been found, (Whalen & Samaddar,
2001), and an individual's 'ability to solve problems' is critical to the
development of 'new paradigms' (Kuhn, 1996, p.155). Lastly, the model is
applied back into reality to solve the original issue (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001).

However, the problem with linear methodologies is that post-modernism
de-emphasizes 'fixed meanings and precise structures of measurement, and [puts]
emphasis on discourses, which dynamically shape and are shaped by the
perceptions, concepts, and participants making them up' (p. 294). This changes
an individual's reality, because an individual can no longer solve problems by
him or herself. 'Critical discussion and deliberation... between two or more
individuals improves reasoning over what can be accomplished by individuals
working alone' (Solomon, 2006, p.28).

Leaders thus need to become coaches and work with organizations to capture
knowledge, and organizations, which can handle knowledge acquisition through
team-based approaches, will have a greater likelihood of success (Nosek &
McNeese, 1997). Values based leadership will be critical to leaders developing
team-based approaches because when a leader's leadership style does not match
his or her defined values, that person will be ineffective to followers
(Kanungo, 2001). 'Without ethical leadership, organizations lose their long
term effectiveness and become soulless structures' (p. 258). Employees
resisting the team-based approach put organizations at a disadvantage (du Toit,
2003) because they hinder communication and adaptation of new technologies
(Coff, Coff, & Eastyold, 2006). Organizations are built on the perspectives of
the individuals employed, thus shaping the corporate culture, which is then
reflected back onto society (Brink, 2001).

Soft computing helps individuals make decisions by putting less emphasis on
'fixed meanings' by employing creativity and 'converting... tacit knowledge to
explicit knowledge' (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001, p.294). Individuals typically do
not question society but rather trust the consensus; however, to increase
creativity, individuals need to question their surroundings (LeBoutillier &
Marks, 2003).

The philosopher Nietzsche held that 'all assumptions have to be questioned
[because] no one system reveals the entire truth' (Sarup, 1993, p.91). When
individuals question their surroundings, their reality changes because they
begin to see different perspectives, which helps them increase their critical
thinking skills (LeBoutillier & Marks, 2003). Leaders have begun exploiting
creativity within teams by using 'techniques such as paradigm preserving,
paradigm stretching, and paradigm breaking' (Whalen & Samaddar, 2001, p.295).
These approaches have helped to add 'humanization [to] a problem' and led to an
increase of tacit knowledge within society and organizations (Whalen & Samaddar,
2001, p.295).

Explicit knowledge is easily quantifiable and transferable; whereas tacit
knowledge is maintained in one's head and typically displayed through action,
making it difficult to transfer (Johannessen, Olaisen, & Olsen, 2002).
'Converting tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge is often time consuming and
problematic,' so tactic knowledge is usually overlooked, which stifles
'knowledge creation activities' (Herschel, Nemati, & Steiger, 2001, p.107). In
addition, when tacit knowledge is overlooked, knowledge cannot be created
because in order for organizational knowledge to be created, explicit and tacit
knowledge need to merge (Johannessen, Olaisen, & Olsen, 2002).

Language helps individuals become aware of themselves as an entity and is the
only way to access others (Sarup, 1993). 'The central role of narrative is
organizing, maintaining, and circulating knowledge of ourselves and our worlds
[, which] is a central theme in the postmodern philosophy' (Witty, 2008, para.
16). Metaphors and storytelling are mechanisms of language and heavily used in
the postmodern school of thought. Since meanings and values change as our
knowledge changes, metaphors and storytelling are useful language tools to
allow for the proliferation of language (Sarup, 1993).

Even though metaphors and storytelling are useful tools, their authors need to
understand cultural settings in order for them to have an impact on society
(Sarup, 1993). According to David and Graham (1997), metaphors and storytelling
within organizations are used to convey corporate values rather than to transmit
messages directly. Culture plays a large role in shaping the stories being told,
because organizations strive to address the underlying values of society within
their stories (David & Graham, 1997).


An individual needs to understand the knowledge-acquisition process, because he
or she is 'the sum of biological characteristics... [and] differences' that
makes up society (Summers, Boje, Dennehy, & Rosile, 1997, p.351). By changing
an individual's knowledge base, he or she improves critical thinking skills,
increases creativity, and tacit knowledge. One needs to know how to interpret,
process, and validate information. An individual's reality is based on
interpretation of stimuli, and social epistemology is the grouping of these
individual realities. 'There is no separation between the personal and the
social, the individual and the collective' (Sarup, 1993, p.93).

Within organizations, different social groups exist; impacting the corporate
culture and building the reality for the organization. This also drives 'the
degree to which roles are used and the degree to which decision-making is
centralized' (Summers, Boje, Dennehy, & Rosile, 1997, p.351). Having the right
leader is more important than the right processes (Collins, 2001) because
'knowledge will be the major component in the world-wide competition for power'
(Sarup, 1993, p.133).


Brink, T. L. (2001). Corporate cultures: A color coding metaphor. Business
Horizons, 39-44.

Chan, J. K., Beckman, S. L., and Lawrence, p.G. (2007). Workplace design: A new
managerial perspective imperative. California Management Review, 49, 6-22.

Coff, R. W., Coff, D. C., and Eastvold, R. (2006). The knowledge leveraging
paradox: How to achieve scale without making knowledge imitable. Academy of
Management Review, 31, 452-465.

Collins, J. (Speaker). (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the
leap... and others don't, [CD-rom]. New York: Harper Business.

David, C. and Graham, M.B. (1997). Conflicting values. Journal of Business and
Technical Communication, 11, 24-48.

du Toit, A. (2003). Knowledge: A sense making process shared through narrative.
Journal of Knowledge Management, 7, 27-37.

Giblin, E. J., & Amuso, L. E. (1997). Putting meaning into corporate values.
Business Forum, 22, 14-18.

Goldman, A.I. (1999). Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford: Oxford University

Gray, D.E. (2007). Facilitating management learning: Developing critical
reflection through reflective tools. Management Learning, 38, 495-517

Herschel, R. T., Nemati, H., and Steiger, D. (2001). Tacit to explicit
knowledge conversion: Knowledge exchange protocols. Journal of Knowledge
Management, 5, 107-116.

Johannessen, J., Olaisen, J., and Olsen, B. (2002). Aspects of a systemic
philosophy of knowledge: From social facts to data, information and knowledge.
Kybernetes, 31, 1099-1120.

Kanungo, R. N. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and transformational
leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18, 257-265.

Kuhn, T.S. (1996). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press.

LeBoutillier, N., and Marks, D. (2003). Mental imagery and creativity: A
meta-analytic review study. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 29-45.

McKernon, S. (2002). The pomo in you. NZ Marketing Magazine, 21, 10-18.

Nonaka, I., and Nishiguchi, T. (2001). Knowledge Emergence. New York: Oxford
University Press.

Nosek, J. T., and McNeese, M.D. (1997). Augmenting group sense making in
ill-defined, emerging situations. Information Technology & People, 10, 241-252.

Sarup, M. (1993). An Introductory Guide to Post-structuralism and
Postmodernism. Great Britain: Ashford Colour Press Ltd.

Solomon, M. (2006). Groupthink versus the wisdom of crowds: The social
epistemology of deliberation and dissent. The Southern Journal of Philosophy,
44, 28-43.

Summers, D.J., Boje, D.M., Dennehy, R.F., and Rosile, G.A. (1997).
Deconstructing the organizational behavior text. Journal of Management
Education, 21, 343-360.

Vaishampayan, D. (2006). Responding to the changing workforce. Strategic HR
Review, 5, 1-3.

Whalen, T. and Samaddar, S. (2001). Post-modern management science: A likely
convergence of soft computing and knowledge management methods. Human Systems
Management, 20, 291-300.

(c) Heidi Joy Gregory-Mina 2008


Heidi J. Gregory-Mina, MBA, MS
Grants and Research Manager
Department of Psychiatry
Boston Medical Center
Boston University Medical Campus
Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Building, Room 915
85 East Newton Street
Boston, MA 02118

Adjunct Lecturer University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA

Doctoral Candidate, University of Phoenix
Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership



I find myself at a point at which I can devote some time and consideration to
this subject and wish to make a point which seems to be beyond the purist
attitude that bribery should not be applied to persuade the buyer to buy.

In the Western world of commerce it is commonly assumed that products or
services emerge on to the market at a fixed price of the manufacturers
decision, that price to include the cost of manufacture, selling, and delivery
all duly invoiced in one final sum.

Much depends upon the supplier having forecast his forward workload so that he
has covered all his anticipated costs in a period of time he chooses to call a
budget period. In the supply of heavy capital goods this is close on
impossible. In fast moving commodity goods (FMCG) with a firm foundation of
customers there is a better chance of his pricing being more 'accurate' and I
am not concerned with this situation.

Where the supplier has a speciality product such as aircraft or generating
equipment or the service is to design and build a water supply from dam to
installation of water purification the costs are all open to considerable
variation and the supplier must enter into terms of agreement based on many
estimates. There is no firm standard price upon which the supplier can base a
contract and inevitably the sale must be based upon his reputation of being
able to deliver the 'product' at a particular point in time. The 'price' is
entirely dependent upon and agreement between Buyer and Supplier on the
specification. Gaining access to Buyers is the first task of the Supplier and
this is where selling costs also require a flexible attitude.

In the Western model it is assumed that a salesman merely knocks on the door of
the buyer, shows his card, presents his case and ultimately secures business and
after the product or service is supplied, that salesman will receive his
commission if he has not already been paid a basic salary.

Further afield in what I will call the Eastern market, the markets are more
widely spread and are less organised than one can find through reference to a
Kompass or other trade directory. The ultimate signatories to major contract
deals lie behind ranks of minions and less defined organisations. Access to
them does not necessarily depend upon a door-knocking approach but may well
involve lateral approaches through apparently quite indirect links. The
ultimate buyer depends upon his own coterie of acquaintances with commercial
contacts ranging world-wide. Gaining access to the ear of such figures of
influence can take years of patience and costly travel, accommodation and
entertainment and even then not being sure of one's target.

It is at this point that a sum might be agreed to be paid to someone who claims
close contact with the Supplier's particular target or Buyer and can
short-circuit the task of gaining access. This someone recognises his power of
influence and will negotiate his 'commission equivalent' in advance. The
Supplier, undoubtedly, still has to prove his competence by references and
further 'selling' costs but they will be much reduced compared to the so-called
direct approach considered to be 'moral' by Western standards.

I therefore contend that the view that the advance or even co-lateral payment
considered to be a bribe in the Western world is invalid.

The level of bribe paid to dustmen for Christmas Boxes[1] is no more than a
protection racket if they resort to pressurising the householder and ignoring
decent levels of service if such payments are not made is surely condemnable
but it is an ungrateful householder who does not recognise the need for some
recognition at a point in the year for the service received. Such payments are
not bribery.


1. Geoffrey Klempner 'Principles and Compromise in the Business Arena' in
Philosophy for Business issue 43

(c) John Pullin 2008




Growing up in Soweto has taught me lot of values like 'Ubuntu' meaning I am
because we are. These are some of the things I've learned. The problems we are
faced with today are the results of unethical leadership, people have
sacrificed human values, the beauty of our nature for the love of money.
Ethical problems can only be solved if the leaders are humanistic centered,
based on the love of nature, rather than enriching themselves unethically.

This is the call to all leaders in the world to understand the purpose of life
of which has been outshone by the illusionary world of money. Global warming,
poverty to mention just two, are the result of the weakness of the mind, due to
the mind's ignorance of its essential nature which is universal and the source
of infinite energy and intelligence. The ignorance of one's own self is the
basis of all the problems and shortcomings in life.

CIDA university is the first virtually free university in South Africa in
downtown Johannesburg, for young academically deserving people from previously
disadvantaged backgrounds. It offers Bachelor of Business Administration and
students can learn skills like bio-intensive farming after classes, taught by
staff members who are qualified in the field. 

This university is fighting against human suffering through their program
called the Nelson Mandela extranet where students go back to their communities
and teach them about HIV, AIDS, bio-intensive farming and money management.
Remembering your ancestors, going back to the community to raise the
consciousness level of the society is the fundamental principle of ethical

Working with plants in my grandmother's garden was an amazing experience. The
bio-intensive team consisting of more than ten students are planning to start
their own projects in their communities to give people skills in bio-intensive
farming so that communities can be able to feed themselves, more especially
orphans who lost their parents through HIV and AIDS. Nutritious food
organically grown will help the HIV people to boost their immune system. The
immune system becomes vulnerable to diseases because of lack of proper diet.
'You are what you eat.'

CIDA is growing compassionate leaders, developing deep awareness of the
interdependence of everything in the universe.

'Ubuntu' leaders must remember: go back and give back.

(c) Dumisani Dladla 2008




From the CIDA City Campus web site:

An average wage in South Africa is around 4,475 per annum. The average cost of
a full 3-year university degree can be up to 14,000. On average only 3% of
black South Africans have tertiary level qualifications. So, CIDA is here to
help, with a university that is far from average: we provide a four-year degree
course at a fraction of the average cost. Plus over 70% of our students are
sponsored by generous companies and individuals like you who cover their living
costs. CIDA Foundation UK is a registered charity, and with help from visionary
people like you we are paving the way to long-term social stability in South

From Wikipedia:

Community and Individual Development Association City Campus (or CIDA City
Campus) is a private higher education institution in South Africa.

CIDA is unique in that it offers a virtually free business degree to students
from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is the only open-access, holistic, higher
educational facility in the world which is operated and managed by its
students, from administration duties to facilities management. In addition
every student is required to return to their rural schools and communities,
during holidays, to teach what they have learnt.

The CIDA City Campus BBA degree has been fully accredited by the South African
government through the Council of High Education (CHE). Further it is
registered by SAQA, the South African Qualifications Authority, at Level 6 on
the NQF (National Qualification Framework). CIDA City Campus has further been
accredited by the South African Institute of Management, which has historically
been the leading accrediting body for business courses.