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Fostering the right attitudes to conducting business ethically in South Africa

Abstract

Nicolaides A

A series of major scandals in the corporate world in recent times involving major players, has once again highlighted the need for virtuous character traits to be instilled in individuals employed in business corporations at all levels. Africa is not immune to the shenanigans of unscrupulous managers and she too has a plethora of socio-economic problems many of which are the direct or indirect result of greed, leading to bribery and corruption, especially in business conduct. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that within African society, the philosophy of ubuntu, which is in accord with Christian morality, can be utilized by businesses to develop a code of conduct or credo by which all employees in a business will be expected to operate. Ubuntu espouses key values such as solidarity, respect and human dignity and seeks the common good in society. It is argued that all employees must be empowered to develop a code of conduct or credo, as their buy-in will make them likely to act in a way that they have suggested, rather than as seeing a code of conduct or credo as an imposition from above. A code of conduct should incorporate the Ubuntu philosophy as the concept of solidarity and respect for others is very important to Africans (Mbigi, 2005). It is only in this way that motivation for doing the right thing can be part and parcel of an environment in which transparency prevails and in which African businesses be expected to act ethically and thus remain sustainable

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