Monday, December 24, 2007
Introduction to Trust and Honesty in the Real World: A Joint Course for Lawyers, Business People and Regulators, by TAMAR FRANKEL, Boston University School of Law, and MARK FAGAN was recently posted on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Open any newspaper and you are likely to find stories of financial scandals, frauds and questionable ethical behavior in the business and professional worlds. The latest and lasting scandals in corporate America touched the highest level of corporate management and professional firms raising the question of whether business leaders are being taught the value of trust and honesty. Yet the very fabric of our economic prosperity and social stability are woven with trust and honesty. Distrust and dishonesty are not new. However, we appear to be at a tipping point where we run the risk of a culture that accepts and justifies corporate abuse of trust and dishonesty. The consequences include higher costs, slower growth and less freedom.
The goal of these course materials is to help students and seasoned practitioners recognize the ease with which trust and honesty can be lost, understand the impact of the business environment and social culture on trust and honesty, and explore measures to reinforce and, if necessary, restore trust and honesty in the business world. These course materials are founded on Trust and Honesty, American's Business Culture at a Crossroad (Frankel, 2006). The centerpiece of each module in this book is a case study drawn from actual business experience. Assigned readings from Trust and Honesty provide context for each teaching module. The case study assessments and discussions are used to highlight and illustrate the issues in more specific and practical terms. They demonstrate the complexity and indeterminacy of the issues. Role plays are provided with each module to provide the students with opportunities to test their ideas, simulate real life situations, manage tradeoffs and build consensus with their peers.