Integrity and Ethics Conference at SCIT, 26 July 2014

Integrity and Ethics Conference at SCIT, 26 July 2014

Integrity and Ethics has been the foundation of civilization and the anchor of mankind since ages to come. Of lately due to the corroding influence of greed and lust, man seems to have given a backdoor entry to unethical practices in his stride and seems to rationalize the same. Companies resort to this practise and pass it off as a norm but do all this really demeanor the shine of these golden values which were exhorted by great men of our times?

The Auditorium at SCIT, Hinjewadi Pune witnessed a rare conglomeration of people from the Industry, Academicians and Students to discuss and debate the role of Ethics and Integrity in the present times and the relevance of the same. The conference was jointly organized by Symbiosis Center for Information Technology (SCIT), IBM & Caux Initiatives for Business (CIB) to provide platform for academicians, students & business organizations to work together to spread awareness for creating a culture of integrity & ethics.

The Welcome address was given by Padmabhushan  Dr.S.B Majumdar, the Chancellor of Symbiosis International University who stressed on the importance o Ethics in the Education Fraternity and envisaged as to how Symbiosis Society itself was a shining beacon of conducting Business with Ethics and Integrity. He spoke about the challenges and the dilemma of being an Ethical Organization and also stressed the need for a ‘Spiritual Evolution’ in the society.

Majumdar Sir asked the audience a few thought provoking questions:

   Can Ethics and Economics co-exist?

   Can Business and Ethics co-exist?

   Can Politics and Ethics co-exist?

   Can Ethics and Education co-exist?

He told the students about the story behind the beginning of the Symbiosis Institutes and its motto – living together for the welfare of students both foreign and Indian.

Sir also talked about the ‘Human Destiny’ with respect to Evolution. He brought up a very thought provoking narrative about Evolution – Man is the last biological production of Evolution , so now a new Evolution awaits mankind, a spiritual evolution of brain and ideas. Spiritual life is essential to ethical life.

In the end he surmised hi speech with the following lines:

Before you pray, believe

Before you speak, listen

Before you write, think

Before you quit, try

Before you die, live and live an ethical life…!!

 

Then the stage was graced by Mr. Kishore Chaukar, Chairman Tata Business Support Services Ltd. Who spoke about some practical examples of his professional life of coming up t terms with Ethics and sticking to it, come what may. To quote Mr. Chaukar, ”Ethics is an all pervading concept, it touches every aspect of human life”. He talked about the luminary life of Mr. Jamshed ji Tata of the TATA group and how the group is still following the path envisioned by Mr. Tata and the top leadership.

Mr.Chaukar discussed at length about the present scenario and globalization issues. He urged that we needed more such platforms where the Industry, Faculty and Students come together and engage in a dialogue on Ethics. According to him ‘Ethics’ is an all pervading concept and he stressed that the need of the hour is that human beings lead a value based life.  He stressed that the Customer is an important stakeholder so is the society and environment for Organizations.

He gave us his insights and experiences as to how organizations must deal with Regulatory issues and issues beyond compliance.

 

Dr. Deepak Phatak, Professor Deptt. Of CSR, IIT Bombay next spoke to the August gathering about walking the talk when it comes to practicing Ethics in our daily lives. He envisioned his passion for teaching as being more of his ‘Dharma’ in life than a profession.

He asked a pertinent question – where do we actually learn ethics from?

According to Dr. Phatak, we don’t need any role models to learn ethics. From personal experiences, the best way to be ethical is by observing people and adopting good behaviors, habits from people around us who can be a boss or even a student. A role model is not required to be idolized and followed.

Questioning is a very important part of growing up and maturing. The moment we ask questions we trigger a process that helps us imbibe the experience and we grow in return. Ethics give us a peace of mind which gives us the courage to face ourselves in the mirror each new day.

He stressed that the temptation to gain or earn is ethical but the temptation to compromise is unethical. Youngsters today must strive for Ethics in Work, Society and Politics. Ethics in research is equally important as it adds value to the society.

He concluded with the following thought:

“Don’t become the part of a rat race because in the end if you win, you will still remain a rat, rather ask yourself – could I have done it better? As this question will help you be a winner at all times”

 

 

Ms. Desiree GilerMann Trust and Compliance Counsel for India /South Asia at IBM then graced the stage and spoke at length about best practices in her Organization and how the IBM fraternity keeps Integrity at the Core of their values when conducting business.

Ms. Desiree talked at length about how IBM has been adapting itself to embrace change and how as an organization they have walked the extra mile and gone beyond Compliance. She talked about the set of values and beliefs that drive IBM as an organization from 1911 till today.

  • She stressed about the following points which all IBMers value:
  • Dedication to every Client’s success
  • Innovation that matters – for the company and for the world
  • Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

 

She also stressed that Ethics was important in order to help the Organization

 

  • Do business
  • Perform
  • Uphold its reputation in the market place
  • For employee pride/satisfaction

 

 

Finally Dr. Rajani Gupte, the Vice Chancellor of SIU spoke at length about the collaboration between Industry and Education to come together and talk about Ethics as well as also quoting instances from her career as an Educationist when she was at crossroads with the values and how she tackled the situations. She stated that education not only anchors a person to life but also provides a solid foundation to his character. She applauded the association of Symbiosis which organizations like MRA which help us students mould our tender minds towards the positive aspects of life.

She said that colleges must make sure that whatever students learn stays with them all their lives. According to her, Education and Ethics should be synonymous as both are uplifting and bring out the best in every student.

 

 

 

 

 

Post the lunch break session, Mr. Anil Chopra, VP Siemens Ltd talked at length about the virtue and also the difficulty of being good. He spoke about the challenges at a professional and personal level and the importance of following the righteous path.

There were various breakout sessions organized on topics like

  • “Messaging and Communication Integrity”
  • “Fair and Consistent Enforcement of Ethics Code”
  • “Creating a Culture of Integrity”
  • “Career in Ethics and Integrity” etc.

Where the students, professors and the corporate discussed case studies and shared their experiences at the same.

Some of the ideas discussed to instill ethics in the above breakout sessions were:

  • “Creating a Culture of Integrity”

 

  • Create a learning Organization
  • Provide career opportunities
  • The importance of the leadership aspect in setting an example
  • Not to get influenced by others
  • Align yourself where you are good at
  • Open communication channel in management to promote transparency
  • Whistle blower policy
  • Leadership modeling
  • Bench Marking
  • Effective orientation for new employees
  • Disciplinary action
  • Empowering middle management
  • Risk assessment
  • Encouraging competition
  • Learning from best practices
  • Training and orientation

 

  • “Fair and Consistent Enforcement of Ethics Code”

 

  • Sticking to one’s commitments
  • Honesty in every action
  • Doing the right thing
  • Starting with oneself
  • Admitting one’s mistakes
  • The importance of leadership
  • Being aware of our fundamental rights
  • The top management’s involvement in enforcing the code of ethics

 

  • “Messaging and Communication Integrity”

 

  • What is the meaning of the word Unethical?
  • Universal norms of religion
  • Responsibility and role of society
  • Outcomes of loss of faith
  • Risks to sustainability

 

  • “Career in Ethics and Integrity”

 

 

  • Role of Compliance in an Organization
  • Importance of governance
  • How to apply the rules in practicality
  • Building a culture of compliance in an organization

 

Various case studies, internship experiences of students, short stories and anecdotes were used in the sessions to brainstorm and come up with the list of ideas.

 

Other eminent guests to grace the conference were Mr. Dilpreet Singh VP, HR at IBM India/ S Asia, Mr. Allan Burby, Tata group along with corporate, students, educationists, alumni from different Universities and Companies.

Mr. Dilpreet Singh, talked about a book, ‘The Proffessional’ by Subroto Bagchi which tells the tale of a professional who delivers well even when she is not being supervised.

He raised a pertinent question – how do we find out what is ethical and what is not?

  • Should we consider the legality of the decision?
  • Would we appreciate of others take decision?
  • Would we be OK if the decision is published in a newspaper?
  • Would our family approve of the decision?

 

A short movies and a skit was also showcased by the Students of SCIT to elaborate on the topic and send the message across through a different platform altogether. The Conference provided a unique opportunity for the participants to network with each other and share common thoughts and ideas to one of the crucial problems faced around us.

The major objectives of the Conference which it aimed to achieve were:

  1. Inculcate a culture of integrity and ethics among the student community who are soon going to enter the work force.
  2. Increase awareness on what constitutes unethical behavior & the fine line between ethical & unethical behavior.
  3. Increase awareness on implications of unethical behavior on the individual as well as the company.
  4. Highlight the business value that a company reaps out of having a reputation as an ethical & trusted brand for its clients.
  5. Discuss and debate on whether strong governance within a corporation can inculcate a culture of integrity and ethics
  6. To create a platform for academicians and corporate executives who can work together towards the cause of spreading awareness on “integrity & ethics” in business

The Conference ended on a positive note with a summarization by the students who were the key recipients from such a discussion and a welcome note by Dr. Dhanya Pramod, Director SCIT.

Even if one individual decides to practice the values of Integrity and Ethics and influence those around him, indeed the conference will achieve its objective…..!!

 

  • By Khushboo Srivastava

MBA ITBM 2013-15 Batch at SCIT

 

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