'Business Ethics Important, But Not For Me,' Top Execs Say

Compiled By Frank R. Chloupek According to a survey of 250 top senior business managers conducted by the University of Michigan Business School and eePulse Inc., 84% termed business ethics a "very important or critical" field of study for CEO success. This ranked second behind business strategy (98%). Also in the top five fields were communications (75%), finance (71%) and human resource management (59%). In contrast, when asked what three fields were most critical to their own success, the three fields most often mentioned were business strategy (62%), human resource management (58%) and communications (29%). "When forced to rank only three fields, business ethics fell off the radar screen," says Theresa Welbourne, adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Business School's Zell-Lurie Institute and CEO and president of eePulse Inc. "This may be due to the fact that ethics is not as well developed a field of study in most business schools." Commenting on the high perceived value of business strategy, Welbourne notes, "As a basic building block of any business, it's not surprising to see that knowledge of strategy is valued as critical for the CEO job. Business strategy also is the one academic field that pulls all of the other business subjects together." Additionally, over 75% of the respondents ranked general management, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and marketing and operations management as "important, very important, or critical." The least important field of study was management consulting, with only 29% rating it as important. The 250 managers who participated in the study took part in the University of Michigan Business School's executive education program in the last five years. The university is located in Ann Arbor, Mich. eePulse is an Ann Arbor-based provider of relationship management tools. The full report is available at www.eepulse.com.

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