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Ten Commandments for good corporate governance?

MIT professor Dan Ariely (Duke University PhD) has been recently profiled in Fortune as one of the top new management gurus. In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan describes an experiment aimed at understanding dishonesty — an important topic in this age of the Satyams and the Enrons.

One of the questions he tested was “Would the Ten Commandments have an effect on participants’ integrity?”

Dan says “But what a miracle the Ten Commandments had wrought! We didn’t even remind our participants what the Commandments were — we just asked each participant to recall them (and almost none of the participants could recall all 10). We hoped the exercise might evoke the idea of honesty among them. And this was clearly what it did.”

While concluding, Dan suggests “… perhaps we could bring the Bible back into public life. If we only want to reduce dishonesty, it might not be a bad idea.”

Interestingly, that suggestion is not very different from what Tom Peters recently asked while getting tough with three specific business leaders: “Did any of them go to Sunday School?”

Coming back to the honesty experiment, Dan however adds “… some people might object, on the grounds that the Bible implies an endorsement of a particular religion …”

First posted in WordPress on February 6, 2009


  1. AnonymousJuly 14, 2009

    This is a copy/paste of a Reader's comment on this post, which was first published in WordPress.

    "This is a divine thought but, as the author concludes, people are loathe to be associated with a specific religion. I think business leaders need to look outside their offices at their stakeholders. They need to ask themselves if their actions will get full endorsement. Most importantly, they need to wear the shoes of their stakeholders and experience what its like at the receiving end. They also need to have the wisdom to question their advisors and associates, management and board." - Peter Yorke (Director, Yorke Communications)


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