A Critical Assessment of the Oath Project

A Critical Assessment of the Oath Project

Wolfgang Amann (Goethe Business School, Germany) and Shiban Khan (Complexity Management Center, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-510-6.ch028
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Trillions in value were destroyed in the recent financial crisis. Of equal harm was another consequence. In a time of such a financial crisis – in addition to the ecological and social ones – trust in business organizations and their managers is very low. A survey by the Aspen Institute reveals unpromising prospects as future business leaders seem utterly unconcerned with ecological and societal demands. The Oath Project is a recent phenomenon and proposes solution with which business schools aim to protect their own reputation and invite graduates to commit to a more ethical behavior during their careers. Based on one standard oath during graduation, a number of business schools show they have understood they need to contribute to preventing crises more than this was the case in the past. This chapter provides a critical review of the status quo and way ahead of the oath project. It scrutinizes the actual potential and likelihood of success. In contrast to the field of health care, it is not a single person or doctor deciding which medication to hand to a patient. For what it is worth, the biggest benefit is likely to be the resulting discussion about value and values in business schools and the media.
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A Note On The Historical Background Of The Oath

Before analyzing in closer detail the positive and negative aspects of oaths, the following sections review the historical background. Several schools have contributed to the emergence of the oath. In 2005, graduates of the Thunderbird School of Global Management took an oath for the first time. Their dean, Angel Cabrerar, had asked them to become involved in this initiative and to draw up the draft oath themselves. Involvement in the process should ensure acceptance later on.

Key Terms in this Chapter

The Oath Project: An independent nonprofit organization founded in 2009 which supports and enhances the concept of the oath for managers. Founding partners included the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, the Aspen Institute, PRME, UN Global Compact, Net Impact and others. See www.theoathproject.org for more information.

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