Why should corporations, organizations, and working professionals care about the oath?
“Global management is an honorable profession that requires technical competence, professional skill and a non-negotiable commitment to ethical professional practice. The presence of the oath will help remind every member of our community that as professional global managers, we remain committed to a responsible exercise of our duties and to having a positive impact in our communities.�?
The Oath represents a personal commitment to lead with purpose, act with integrity, and understand the reach, power, and responsibility of business.
The global financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing economic recession has brought under question the character and trustworthiness of business managers around the world. Unlike other professions such as medicine or law, which explicitly recognize a commitment to serving the greater good and formally espouse a strict code of conduct, management is yet to do either. Widespread views of management often subordinate business contributions to the greater good to the maximization of short-term financial returns, and emphasize a narrow view of managerial responsibilities as serving the interest of shareholders over clients, employees, or society at large. These views misrepresent the full complexity of the management profession and its role in driving global prosperity and, as we have painfully learned, can have disastrous economic consequences when taken to the extreme.
The Oath aims to transform the value system dominant today among business leaders around the world by (a) explicitly recognizing that the ultimate purpose of management is to serve society by bringing together people and resources to create sustainable and inclusive prosperity that no single individual can create alone, (b) recognizing that the effects (good and bad) of managerial decisions in the welfare of society are amplified by the accumulation of resources under legal corporations, and (c) proposing a code of conduct—a modern day “Hippocratic Oath of Business�?—that spells out a commitment to “doing no harm�? throughout the practice of management.
More and more corporations, organizations, and their leaders are recognizing the value internally and externally to actively engaging in CSR and Sustainability initiatives. It is becoming more and more mainstream to sign on to the UN Global Compact and to more responsible codes of conduct. Our newest graduates and young professionals care more than ever what their employer stands for and how business is done. The public is demanding more and more transparency and open dialogues about what it means to do business in the 21st century. The face of business is changing. Bringing the oath to your organization offers a way to start meaningful conversations with a variety of stakeholders about what it means to be a responsible business—and what that means for the individual business professional.
The oath is not a cure all solution in and of itself—nor is it meant to be—but it does give each of us a way to personally commit to the values of responsible business and provides a larger professional community to support and enhance that commitment.
By committing to what it represents you are joining thousands of other dedicated leaders—at various stages of their careers—who are changing the face of business one decision at a time.
There are a number of ways that your organization can support the movement. To learn more about our Clinton Global Initiative commitment, pilot implementation programs, executive education offerings, consulting services, implementing the oath at your organization or to become a corporate partner please contact us here .