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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nietzsche on Bank of America

The positive correlation between incompetence and unethical conduct at companies is striking, for, theoretically at least, a person can be talented or smart and of questionable character. Of course, it could be that cutting corners is a survival strategy of people who are not competent. However, shirking seems to reflect a sordid character, which, like personality, is relatively constant throughout one’s life—though character flaws could manifest more when times are tough (as in when incompetence has eventuated in a dire balance sheet). One might investigate, moreover, whether a firm’s culture can become more tolerant of unethical conduct when the finances are going south—or do unethical cultures tend to be like fixtures in organizations irrespective of financial condition?

The full essay has been incorporated into (or swallowed up by) On the Arrogance of False Entitlement: A Nietzschean Critique of Business Ethics and Management, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.