Winners never cheat and cheaters never win. This is the central message that is at the core of the book, The Power of Ethical Management. Written by two famous authors, Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Vincent Pearle, the book is timely and relevant to our times when the problem of unethical behavior by bankers, and other highly paid corporate executives has taken centre stage. Indeed, the book could not have come at a better time for the country that is reeling under the impact of wholesale unethical behavior by just about everybody in the corporate world.
The pillars of The Power of Ethical Management are the “Five P’s of Ethical Power”. These are to do with Purpose, Pride, Patience, Persistence, and Perspective. To take each of these in turn, it is clear that managers have to have a sense of purpose in what they do and also have a guiding principle that animates this purpose. Next, mangers ought to take pride in their work and this in turn helps them to be professional, objective, and unbiased in their approach to their work. The third P is the patience, which is very important in these extremely rapid times when all of us seem to be engaged in a mad rush towards what is yet to be defined. In other words, the fast-paced world of the 21st century has given short shrift to patience and as Blanchard and Pearle argue, we need to rediscover the virtues of patience. Only when we can step back from the situation and assess it objectively from the outside would we be able to take decisions that are ethical.
The fourth P is Persistence which means that no matter what the setbacks are, managers ought to keep doing the right thing irrespective of the consequences and this would go a long way in promoting ethics at the workplace. The key point to be noted here is that persistence pays off in the longer term as is evident from the case studies presented in the book. The fifth P is perspective that is as important as the other P’s as the managers need to have a worldview that is not colored by unethical principles and instead, must be powered by intellect and driven by values. The combination of intellect and values is especially important as the recent events show that having intellect alone is not enough to guarantee ethical behavior at the workplace. The key aspect about the five P’s are that they are interlinked and interconnected and tie in with the overall objective of promoting ethical behavior at the workplace.
The book is sprinkled with quotes and examples from the great business leaders of all times and hence, it is an invaluable guide to the managers and the CEO’s who are confronted with ethical dilemmas. The unique selling point of the book is that it is not just theoretical and instead, offers practical tips on how ethics can be actualized in the workplace. Indeed, as the examples in the book show, the practical wisdom dispensed throughout the book makes it an easy read and at the same time an invaluable one.
Before concluding the paper, the point needs to be made that the authors have resisted from preaching and sermonizing and instead, have taken the compassionate route to solving knotty ethical dilemmas. This makes the book stand alone from its peers and contributes to our understanding of the moral and ethical dilemmas that confront us at every turn of our professional lives. In conclusion, the adage that winners never cheat and cheaters never win must be reinforced and sent out as a message to all working and aspiring managers who are taking the plunge into the corporate world. In these times when ethics are being bypassed, there is a need for books like these and hence, it is an invaluable addition to the literature available on the topic.
Pearle, N. V., & Blanchard, K. (2011). The Power of Ethical Management. New York: Ebury Digital.