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THE CONSCIENCE CODE

LEAD WITH YOUR VALUES: ADVANCE YOUR CAREER

An inspiring business book about doing the right thing.

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A blueprint for ethical behavior in a frequently unethical business world.

Shell, the chair of the Wharton School’s legal studies and business ethics department, firmly asserts that adopting a “conscience code” of ethical behavior in a corporate setting is not only morally right, but also more profitable than the alternative. According to the Ethics Resource Center, Shell writes, 40% of U.S. workers have witnessed unethical behavior on the job over the course of a year, but most of it goes unreported out of fear or unaddressed due to inertia or incompetence. The author interviewed several Wharton students about their encounters with such bad behavior, and he presents a great many examples in these pages. Readers will find many of these situations familiar, whether it’s a manager coercing employees to overlook something illegal or an entire team overstepping boundaries to hit a deadline. He also draws on the work of social psychologists in identifying a select group of pressures that can lead to bad decisions, which he calls the “PAIRS Pressures”; they involve one’s peers, the desire to obey authority, incentives (such as goals and deadlines), role expectations, and systemic pressure. He then explains 10 rules that readers can use as guidelines to combat these pressures, such as “Face the Conflict,” “Commit to Your Values,” and so on. The aptness of Shell’s many examples and consistent tone of wise encouragement will doubtless help many struggling readers find the courage to live by their convictions in the workplace. They’ll be further encouraged by Shell’s insistence that doing the right thing is advantageous not only philosophically, but also practically. Indeed, the advice here is designed to reorient readers away from ambition and coercion—the lures of the so-called “bad wolf”—and toward the ethical path, which, Shell stresses, is the successful one in the long term: “Authentic, lasting success in any profession demands adherence to the highest standards of integrity.”

An inspiring business book about doing the right thing.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-40-022113-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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