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An e-journal from Centre for Public Policy Research

MINDTEXT is published by CENTRE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH Nadakavu Post, Vaikom Road, Cochin Kerala, India - 682 307 Editorial Team : Aneish, Lekha, Kalpana, Seppi and D.Dhanuraj ( e-mail: Design/Layout : T.V.Vinu MINDTEXT is published each month and distributed free of cost. For subscription, written requests should be addressed to Centre for Public Policy Research endeavours in areas like research promotion, knowledge dissemination, capacity building, grass roots initiatives etc. This, the Centre believes, would be a humble beginning towards its larger efforts aimed at the creation of an equitable, socially just and environmentally sound state enriched by democratic and secular principles. It is our firm belief that each citizen has a vital role to play towards the accomplishment of these tasks. The Centre has a pool of talents from various parts of the country. They are assisted by the experts and luminaries in the respective fields. The Centre acknowledges and appreciates the value of an individual in his own area of activity and commitment to the society at large. The Centre looks forward to the guidance and support from each individual to accomplish its mission. Articles or extracts from the CPPR material may be freely used elsewhere provided acknowledgment of their source is made. For other articles appearing in the journal, permission to republish other than for the use of review must be sought from the author. Views expressed in any signed article appearing in the MINDTEXT do not necessarily represent those of the Centre for Public Policy Research and CPPR accept no responsibility for them. Authors own responsibilty for their articles.

Editorial Reality Check
Business Ethics

From Depair to Hope Multi-tasking - Whats that suppose tobe?

Reflections Dead End

As you walk down the aisle…


MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007


ist is hazy. Mist is white. Mist seems blurry. However this November's mist is different; it symbolizes light, beautiful light. Lights so pure you want to bury yourself in it. Lights so pure you hope it would remain forever. Lights through the November mist: the lights of Diwali!

The month of November danced before our eyes as it brought with it the season and spirit of Diwali. Diwali called the “Festival of Lights” is rightly called so as it is not just the presence of mere lamps adorning the courtyard of houses. Rather it is the entire aura of Diwali that sets it apart from other festivals. Lamps and candles lit all around transform the place making houses look like they were made of small balls of fire. The sound of crackers and the beautiful display of lights in the sky make it seem as if there is a wedding in the skies, and a grand one too! Mind Text November is a product of the Diwali mist, the mist with a difference. Archana's article “From Despair to Hope” is a poignant example of how several desolate faces have learnt to smile and feel loved. Archana talks about the haven called Gilgal Ashwas Bhavan where numerous Alzhemier patients have found solace and healing. From despair to hope; from darkness to light. This is definitely one busy life where life and love often seem to be lost behind huge piles of work and long lists of commitments. The same cry is echoed through “Multi-tasking: what's that supposed to be?” where Kalpana explains her struggle to understand this term which is so commonly used in today's busy world. However this “shrew” that we call life is tamed through ethics, making ethics an integral part of every affair that man deals with. Business Ethics in crisp gives us a bird's eye view of the ethics of different strands followed by society today “ Shobith's As you walk the aisle” potrays the November mist. He reflects on life as it moves from one step to the other. Each step in life has a very special meaning and task attached to it. We grow from strength to strength with determination and with the support of family, friends and well-wishers. In his poem Vipin exemplifies the veracity of the term “take care” and thus makes sure that its usage potrays all that it stands for. With all sincerity we say take care. Tell others about the New November Mist. Spread the message of love and life all around. Wish you all a happy reading! -Kalpana Sudheer (Member, Editorial Committee, Mind Text)

usiness ethics is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting, and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce. Business ethics can be both a normative and a descriptive discipline. As a corporate practice and a career specialisation, the field is primarily normative. In academia descriptive approaches are also taken. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at odds with non-economic social values. Historically, interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980's and 1990's, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings (e.g. ethics codes, social responsibility charters). In some cases, corporations have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations.


MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007

General Business Ethics · This part of business ethics overlaps with the philosophy of business, one of the aims of which is to determine the fundamental purposes of a company. If a company's main purpose is to maximize the returns to its shareholders, then it could be seen as unethical for a company to consider the interests and rights of anyone else. · · · · · · · Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR: an umbrella term under which the ethical rights and duties existing between companies and society is debated. Issues regarding the moral rights and duties between a company and its shareholders: fiduciary responsibility, stakeholder concept vs. shareholder concept Ethical issues concerning relations between different companies: e.g. hostile take-overs, industrial espionage Leadership issues: corporate governance Political contributions made by corporations Law reform, such as the ethical debate over introducing a crime of corporate manslaughter The misuse of corporate ethics policies as marketing instruments

Professional Ethics Professional ethics covers the myriad of practical ethical problems and phenomena which arise out of specific functional areas of companies or in relation to recognized business professions. Ethics of Human Resource Management The ethics of human resource management (HRM) covers those ethical issues arising around the employer-employee relationship, such as the rights and duties owed between employer and employee. · · · · · · Discrimination issues include discrimination on the bases of age (ageism), gender, race, religion, disabilities, weight and attractiveness. Issues surrounding the representation of employees and the democratisation of the workplace: union busting, strike breaking. Issues affecting the privacy of the employee: workplace surveillance, drug testing. See also: privacy. Issues affecting the privacy of the employer: whistle-blowing. Issues relating to the fairness of the employment contract and the balance of power between employer and employee: slavery[3], indentured servitude, employment law. Occupational safety and health.

Ethics of Sales & Marketing Marketing which goes beyond the mere provision of information about (and access to) a product may seek to manipulate our values and behaviour. To some extent society regards this as acceptable, but where is the ethical line to be drawn? Marketing ethics overlaps strongly with media ethics, because marketing makes heavy use of media. However media ethics is a much larger topic and extends outside business ethics. · · · · · Pricing: price fixing, price discrimination, price skimming Anti-competitive practices: these include but go beyond pricing tactics to cover issues such as manipulation of loyalty and supply chains. See: anti-competitive practices, antitrust law. Specific marketing strategies: greenwash, bait and switch, shill, viral marketing, spam (electronic), pyramid scheme, planned obsolescence. Content of advertisements: attack ads, subliminal messages, sex in advertising, products regarded as immoral or harmful Children and marketing: marketing in schools · Black markets, grey markets Case Example: Benetton. Ethics of Sales & Marketing Marketing which goes beyond the mere provision of information about (and access to) a product may seek to manipulate our values and behaviour. To some extent society regards this as acceptable, but where is the ethical line to be drawn? Marketing ethics overlaps strongly with media ethics, because marketing makes heavy use of media. However media ethics is a much larger topic and extends outside business ethics. ·
MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007

Pricing: price fixing, price discrimination, price skimming Anti-competitive practices: these include but go beyond pricing tactics to cover issues such as manipulation of loyalty and supply chains. See: anti-competitive practices, antitrust law. Specific marketing strategies: greenwash, bait and switch, shill, viral marketing, spam (electronic), pyramid scheme, planned obsolescence. Content of advertisements: attack ads, subliminal messages, sex in advertising, products regarded as immoral or harmful Children and marketing: marketing in schools

· · · ·

· Black markets, grey markets Case Example: Benetton. Ethics of Production This area of business ethics deals with the duties of a company to ensure that products and production processes do not cause harm. Some of the more acute dilemmas in this area arise out of the fact that there is usually a degree of danger in any product or production process and it is difficult to define a degree of permissibility, or the degree of permissibility may depend on the changing state of preventative technologies or changing social perceptions of acceptable risk. · · · · Defective, addictive and inherently dangerous products and services (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, weapons, motor vehicles, chemical manufacturing, bungee jumping) Ethical relations between the company and the environment: pollution, environmental ethics, carbon emissions trading Ethical problems arising out of new technologies: genetically modified food, mobile phone radiation and health Product testing ethics: animal rights and animal testing, use of economically disadvantaged groups (such as

students) as test objects Case Examples: Ford Pinto scandal, Bhopal disaster, asbestos / asbestos and the law. Ethics of Intellectual Property, Knowledge & Skills Knowledge and skills are valuable but not easily "ownable" objects. Nor is it obvious who has the greater rights to an idea: the company who trained the employee or the employee themselves? The country in which the plant grew, or the company which discovered and developed the plant's medicinal potential? As a result, attempts to assert ownership and ethical disputes over ownership arise. · · · · Patent infringement, copyright infringement, trademark infringement Misuse of the intellectual property systems to stifle competition: patent misuse, copyright misuse, patent troll, submarine patent Even the notion of intellectual property itself has been criticised on ethical grounds: see intellectual property Employee raiding: the practice of attracting key employees away from a competitor to take unfair advantage of the knowledge or skills they may possess

· ·

The practice of employing all the most talented people in a specific field, regardless of need, in order to prevent any competitors employing them Bioprospecting (ethical) and biopiracy (unethical)

· Business intelligence and industrial espionage Case Example: private versus public interests in the Human Genome Project International Business Ethics & Ethics of Economic Systems The issues here are grouped together because they involve a much wider, global view on business ethical matters. International Business Ethics While business ethics emerged as a field in the 1970's, international business ethics did not emerge until the late 1990's, looking back on the international developments of that decade.[4] Many new practical issues arose out of the international context of business. Theoretical issues such as cultural relativity of ethical values receive more emphasis in this field. Other, older issues can be grouped here as well. Issues and subfields include: · · · · · ·
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The search for universal values as a basis for international commercial behaviour Comparison of business ethical traditions in different countries Comparison of business ethical traditions from various religious perspectives Ethical issues arising out of international business transactions; e.g. bioprospecting and biopiracy in the pharmaceutical industry; the fair trade movement; transfer pricing Issues such as globalisation and cultural imperialism Varying global standards - e.g. the use of child labour The way in which multinationals take advantage of international differences, such as outsourcing production (e.g. clothes) and services (e.g. call centres) to low-wage countries


· The permissibility of international commerce with pariah states Ethics of Economic Systems This vaguely defined area, perhaps not part of but only related to business ethics, is where business ethicists venture into the fields of political economy and political philosophy, focussing on the rights and wrongs of various systems for the distribution of economic benefits. Ethics Policy To be successful, most ethicists would suggest that an ethics policy should be: · · · · · Given the unequivocal support of top management, by both word and by example Explained in writing and orally, with periodic reinforcement Doable - something employees can both understand and perform Monitored by top management, with routine inspections for compliance and improvement Backed up by clearly stated consequences in the case of disobedience

· Remain neutral and nonsexist Ethical Problems Any conflict in ethics (comprising of but not limited to those discussed above), be it business, personal, political, economic etc becomes an ethical problem. Ethical problems cannot be ignored or avoided. They will confront an individual, organisation or society at every level. What is neccessary is to resolve the issue effectively. Steps to Resolving an Ethical Problem · · · · · · Clearly define the ethical problem. Employ applicable laws and regulations. Reflect on the ethical values and their ramifications. Consider other applicable moral principles. Commit to and implement the best ethical solution. Assess results and modify plan as required.

Managing the ethical climate is not easy given the myriad influences, both internal and external. Ethics programs will not completely eliminate unethical conduct, nor will they resolve all of the perplexing conflicts of ethical values that arise in various social and economic arenas today. Nevertheless, efforts to strengthen the ethical climate will have real benefits for individuals, firms, and for society at large. By legitimizing the discussion of ethical considerations, by standing up for ethical values despite short-term costs, by giving serious consideration to problems of conflicting values, one can contribute to strengthening individuals, organisations, society and to building trust.


The plight of an elderly woman who lost her two young children to blood cancer and her husband to heart failure, prompted Good Samaritan Jacob Joseph to set up a home for the old and the destitute in Kerala. The haven called Gilgal Ashwas Bhavan, established in 2000, today has 140 inmates and 20 staff members, reports Archana K Sudheer

he rhythmic swaying of the train was peaceful in contrast to the painful graphics flashing across Rama's mind. Time and place were a blur to this woman, who was in her mid-40s. Before she knew it, she found herself on a platform in Kerala, lost in a sea of passengers, with no shelter above her head and no place to call home. When Rama (not her real name) thought she would perish without help, a Good Samaritan took her to a haven called the Gilgal Ashwas Bhavan, a home for destitute, old persons, and mentally and physically challenged, situated at Eraviperoor in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Tender words and caring hands restored her indistinguishable words to clear sentences, unraveling a traumatised life. Rama lost everything, from her family to her home. Difficult circumstances made her mentally unstable. To earn for herself, she was working as a maid for a family in Jalandhar in Punjab. When her condition deteriorated, her employers put her in a Kerala-bound train with no money or food. Now, a few years down the line, she is a healed person and a source of help to those at the Bhavan. Rama's story might seem a miracle but she is just one in 140, each with a different story to tell. It was Pastor Jacob Joseph, known by his pet name Prince, who set up Gilgal Ashwas Bhavan in 2000. It all began when this young man met an elderly lady, Anamma, who was in the pits of despair after having lost her two young children to blood cancer and her husband to heart failure. On seeing her plight, Prince began looking for a place for her to stay. He managed to find a refuge for her, but it sparked a light in him. "I knew I had to do something," recalled Prince when I met him in Chandigarh, where he had come to meet a relative. After talking to his wife, who was initially hesitant, and toying with the idea for quite some time, a home for the old and the destitute was opened in 2000. Anamma was the first occupant. Now, seven years later, the Bhavan has 140 residents and 20 full-time staff. With the help of wellwishers, a three-storied structure on 2.5 acres of land with all necessity facilities was built. "It is a commitment we have made to society and we do it with help from God," says the perpetually smiling Prince.


The residents are of different ages and with different health conditions. Among them are mentally unstable persons, patients with Alzheimer's disease and those with spinal injuries and physical disabilities. Many of them are aged. On being asked how the Bhavan finds people, Prince says:"Word spreads. Before we knew it, we had a huge list of applications. But we admit only the most poor and needy. If we find someone who can pay, we refer that person to some other home." Every person has a different story to tell; some more heart-rending than the other; but all with a happy ending. Take, for example, 27 year-old Jainu. The only son of his parents, Jainu was quite healthy till the age of two when he suffered an epileptic attack and lost his mental balance. After the death of his father, his mother kept him tied in a room for seven long years because she could not control him. It was then that he was rescued and brought to the home. Now, he is a calm young man who enthralls all with his singing. Then there is 56-year-old Lovis, an avid athlete, who suddenly lost her ability to walk and was confined to a bed in her home. Now at the home, she has learnt to walk again and is soon regaining her health. Sixty one-year-old Rajappan will never forget the day he entered the home. A beggar, he had come for a free meal, with a long beard, dirty clothes and sad eyes. His plight caught the eye of all at the Bhavan. He was given a bath and his beard was shaved off, transforming him into a new person. He now stays at the bhavan with no worries and concerns. Not to forget 19-year-old Ajimol, 'Tsunami kutty (baby),' as she is fondly called. Mentally unstable, she had been tied in her room when the Tsunami struck. Her house was dragged away by the tidal waves. She clung on to a tree for hours before she was rescued. The trauma rendered her violent and unable to talk. "We needed several persons to handle her. She was that violent," said Prince. In the home, she found healing. She is still mentally unstable, but calm. And the stories continue.

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007

Copyright, The Tribune


By Kalpana Sudheer ulti-tasking: a word that has been on my mind for ages now. I have really wanted to get to the history from which this word originated. Multi-tasking is, I learnt, a work used in multimedia, something computers do. The ability to do multiple things at the same time efficiently is multi-tasking. In connection with computers, it is often used on the same note with “multi-processing.” It is now used widely in connection with humans being able to doing multiple things at the same time. I have often wondered what the word really meant. To be honest, the word has often created more worry for me than good. When one says s/he has the skill of multi-tasking does it mean the person is calm at all times despite a strenuous work schedule? Or does it mean that though s/he runs around frantically to get things done, he finally manages to get them done. What is the focus here?? The end justifies the means?? Is multi-tasking focusing on the external expressions on the human face, aiming that one keep a calm demeanor at all times? Confused busy schedules have also made me wonder whether “multi-tasking” meant you ended up becoming a workaholic, one who is busy all the time because s/he has to learn to get things done. Is “multi-tasking learning to balance your time, balancing between time at office and time with your family? One interesting concept developed by Linda, multimedia partner made me think. She called multi-tasking a process in which there is “Continuous Partial Attention,” which meant that you though you pay only a fleeting glance (superficial attention) to what you are doing you do it efficiently. Continuous partial attention is multitasking where things do not get studied in depth. You do the same process with other things, all at the same time. Wow!! I think I'll take a lifetime to do that! To be able to glance at a thing and handle it efficiently would require some sort of fluency and practice. Now, how “efficiency” is defined is a totally different question altogether. I guess I'll leave that for the next issue of Mind Text! I no longer wonder why my cousin once said, “Multi-tasking is the work of computers; Human SUCK at it!” I'm yet to come to terms with me developing the skill of “multi-tasking.” Too many questions unanswered, too many unsettled truths. Well I don't know if it is a virtue or vice; as of now multi-tasking seems to be the trend! Well I guess I'd better play along or I'd end up with too many things that I would not have a choice as to whether I want to “multi'task” or not!!
Kalpana Sudheer is 3rd Semester, MSW Student


MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007

2nd February 14th March 21st March 22nd March 22nd April 5th June 6th July 9th August 26th August 16th September 21st September 1st November 10th November 29th November 1st December 3rd December 19th December World Wetlands Day World Anti-Dam Day World Forestry Day World Day for Water Earth Day World Environment Day Vanamahotsav International Day of the World's indigenous people Nature Club Day International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer World Biosphere Day World Ecology Day Forest Martyr's Day International Day for Biological Diversity Ocean Care Day World Conservation Day Biodiversity Day

Source: Silent Valley Information Centre

When I see you walking down the aisle To a life so bright I raise my eyes to the skies. Looking back on all these years Oh how the time has flown Seems like yesterday u were home.

By Shobith John
MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-11 | November 2007

So much for all the cries So much for all the tears A blessing what u been since u were born. And I will always love u And I will b there for u And I will always miss u. I see my life flash before my eyes I see the smiles and the sighs U were there in everything I recall. Think of the days and the way I spent Things I did I can't amend You bore with everything I've been thru. Now tis time for u to walk the aisle Time to stop and rest a while Tis been a long way so far. I look at him and it brings a smile I know he'll go the extra mile To keep that glow on your face alive...

Shobith John is second year BSc student from Coimbatore


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