ESSA

ESSA

10 Commandments of a Responsible Business


Natalya Turkina

By

September 26th, 2012


Interpreting and applying the Moses’ 10 commandments to the world of business ethics.


Having high expectations of good, responsible behavior from a business is similar to having high expectations of such behavior from a single person. Business is done by people and decisions are made by people. So why should we expect the path of a local corporation to be different from a path of a single person from our local community?

There are 10 commandments of a good man, which are as old as time and which are to be remembered and followed by each of us (even though some of us do not belong to any religion). How can these commandments be amended in business context?

1.      You must not have any other god but me. In a business context it means that a good business shall have a mission and it shall not stay just a sentence on the paper but it is to be a true target for a company, which can be achieved by real deeds and actions. Once announced this mission shall not be changed and a company has to keep its commitment towards it.

2.      You must not make for yourself an idol. Each company has its own history and its own path. You cannot just copy-paste others’ practices and expect to become successful.  

3.      You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. A good business shall stay honest (as much as it is possible) and loyal towards its customers and partners. A good business would not ever misuse its mission and main goals.

4.      Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. A good company shall respect its workers’ social rights and provide them with holidays and vacations, benefits and sick leaves, unions and safe work conditions so that the ordinary work days’ performance would be better.

5.      Honor your father and mother. A good business shall remember its roots, traditions and history. Everything that gives resources for a business’s prosperity shall be respected, whether they are natural resources or local communities that create valuable, unique products or services. 

6.      You must not murder. No comment.

7.      You must not commit adultery. A good business shall not cheat on its customers and partners. A good business shall not bribe and be bribed.

8.      You must not steal. No comment.

9.      You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. A good company shall not testify falsely against anybody, including the government, partners and clients.

10.  You must not covet. A good business shall not covet its partner’s property or even business, and if so the deal has to be transparent and mutually agreed.     

 

Undeniably, all these 10 commandments are so ideal that for a single person it is almost impossible to achieve all of them, let alone a corporation with its complexity and multiple, very often purely materialistic, goals. However, only considering all these commandments in its activity can lead a company to a sustainable and honorable path, because only intrinsic motivation based on a company’s core values is more likely to make a business engaged in various environmentally and socially useful programs. Thus it is more likely to lead a company to better performance and appearance of spillover effects in the business community.

The views expressed within this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of the ESSA Committee or the Society's sponsors. Use of any content from this article should clearly attribute the work to the author and not to ESSA or its sponsors.

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