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In his article The Hippocratic oath of the manager: Good or bad idea, Sean D. Jasso, Ph.D. considers the surge in popularity of the MBA oaths and analyzes the following:
- effects that these oaths actually have on the quality of services provided by the managers, the manager–employee relations, etc.;
- management ethics;
- notorious “primum non nocere?” – “above all, not knowingly to do harm” (Jasso, 2010, p. 1).
Concerning the Strengths
One of the doubtless strengths of Jasso’s argument is the knowledge of the subject in question. To start with, Jasso provides an extensive definition of management, therefore, setting the premises for the further discussion of a possibility of having an oath related to the business sphere: “Among the great innovations of the last hundred years that have moved society forward is in fact management” (Jasso, 2010, p. 1).
It is also quite remarkable that Jasso considers the issue of the MBA oath from different standpoints, only making his choice when the answer to his question becomes obvious. Finally, it is remarkable that Jasso draws a clear line between what makes good management and what makes a good manager.
Analyzing the Weaknesses
However, Jasso’s research also has several major problems. First, the methodology of his research has not been defined clearly.
Based partially on the existing researches, and partially on his own assumptions concerning the features required for developing leadership qualities and the assets that are a must for a businessman’s tool kit, the methods used for the research leave much to be desired.
Although the given detail can be viewed as a minor ditch in an overall strong canvas of the research, it is, in fact, much more serious an issue.
The wrong choice of research methods jeopardizes the research results and, therefore, leads to questioning the results offered by the author.
While some of the details of Jasso’s article point at the fact that he uses qualitative research methods and acquires data from previous papers on the topic, the methodology should have been considered more carefully.
The Content and Its Meaning
Finally, the issue discussed in the article should also be brought to discussion.
In contrast to medicine, with the key concept there being curing the patient and saving people’s lives and, therefore, the Hippocratic Oath being an integral part of the “initiation process,” in business, the very notion of sacrifice seems alien to the management principles.
That being said, the idea of having the MBAs take the oath that will oblige them to be honest in their actions and provide the customers with the best services possible is not a bad idea.
However, in the realm of real-life business processes, the given concept, though doubtlessly noble, can hardly be applicable, due to the ambiguity of a number of business decisions that have to be taken on a daily basis.
Despite its seeming uselessness, though, the oath taken by MBAs will contribute to a better understanding of the duties and moral responsibilities of a businessman, which is why the tradition of an MBA oath must be continued.
Although Jasso’s article has some problems, it can be considered impressive research that touches upon a very interesting and ethically challenging topic.
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A review of the recent attempt to bring ethics into business, the given article sets the stage for further explorations of the MBA oath and its effects on business and its major processes.
Jasso, S. D. (2010). The Hippocratic Oath of the manager: Good or bad idea. Philosophy for Business, 56, pp. 1–5.