Saturday, April 2, 2011

Scam effect: Course in biz ethics must at new IIMs

BANGALORE: After playing out in the courtrooms and boardrooms, some of India Inc's scams have crashed into the classrooms of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). 

A slew of scams, including Satyam, 2G, Bhopal gas tragedy ( Dow Chemical Company) and their protagonists have become a talking point at the new IIMs. Business ethics and values will now be taught as a part of the flagship postgraduate programme in management. 

The newest IIM at Trichy, mentored by IIM-Bangalore, will introduce a full credit mandatory course in ethics, corporate social responsibility and values this summer for its maiden batch. ''India has always been known for its values and ethics. But things have changed in recent times. We believe each student passing out of the institute should act as change agents with socially responsive behaviour. During the interview stage, we are looking for qualities like ethical behaviour, integrity and spirit of inquiry among prospective students,'' said IIM-T director Prafulla Agnihotri. 

Aditya Somani, a first year student at IIM-Ranchi, recently completed a second term course in business ethics and values. He said, ''The course did not teach him how to be ethical per se but focused on ethical decision making. ''I remember the Bhopal tragedy case where we discussed what ought to be done and what happened in reality. Professors throw up situations and we discuss how to tackle them.'' 

Heads of some of the biggest corporate houses, who hold honorary positions at IIMs, had pitched for these courses. Tata Motors vice-chairman Ravi Kant, who is chairman, board of governors at IIM-Rohtak, suggested a re-jig of the curriculum to include ethical business practices and CSR. In the first board meeting of the B-school in June 2010, he stressed the need for ''sensitisation of budding managers on sustainable profit making in long-term perspective versus short-term profitability.''

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