Dating back to the bursting of the tech and telecom bubbles in early 2000, corporate governance experts and management gurus have, rightly I believe, said the tone for a company or an organization begins at the top. If the morals or ethics in the boardroom or executive suite lean toward self-enrichment or self-aggrandizement, you can pretty well bet that that attitude will permeate the entire organization.
Taking that perspective one step farther is Forbes’ Rich Karlgaard in the 20 August edition. His short article, “Recovery Drag: The Age of Cheats,” is worth the time to read. He connects the cheating and lying we see in sports, politics, and the financial markets all as indications of “moral rot.” He ends on a hopeful note, though, that this age, like other ages of civilized decay, can be overcome.