by Ron Kurtus (revised 6 May 2003)
Corporate greed concerns the actions of company executives who reap excess profits at the expense of others.
Interestingly enough, these same people rose to their high position on the shoulders of some positive character traits. The reason they became greedy may be because they became so powerful that they lost contact with morality.
Obviously, you should not follow their example.
Questions you may have are:
- What type of character traits do some top executives presently have?
- What opposite character traits did they once have?
- What may have caused their loss of character?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Executives with poor character
There have been a number of corporate executives who are pay themselves excessive salaries, receive large bonuses even when the company is laying off workers and losing money, and manipulate corporate stock prices illegally to increase their personal profits.
In the United States, many executives make 100 times more than their average worker. In Europe and Japan, the average is 7 times the worker's pay. Bonuses that are not really justified add to their income. Since most have been given large stock holdings in their companies, some executives have used deception to manipulate stock prices and increase their wealth.
Obviously, these people have many negative character traits. Some are close to being out-and-out criminals. Some of these negative character traits are greed, dishonesty and deception.
Once had good character traits
But on the other hand, at one time many of these executives had a number of admirable character traits, such as being hard working, determined, and courageous.
They wouldn't have reached the position of prominence if they didn't have such positive character traits, including being trusted by those who hired them. Some of these executives have also given large amounts of money to charities.
Reason for downfall
What caused these people to go from having high standards to becoming close to being thieves and criminals? It was probably caused by the fact that once they become powerful there was no one to question their authority and decisions. They lost the sense of what is right and what is wrong.
These corporate executives become greedy megalomaniacs who wanted more and more. They felt they were too clever to get caught and were not concerned about the harm they were doing to stockholders (thought of as "suckers"), as well as to society. It is amazing that there are so many who have changed from being hard-working managers to becoming dishonest executives. It certainly seems that power corrupts.
Whatever your position is in business or government, you should never allow greed and avarice to corrupt your character. Sooner or later bad things will get back to you. In the meanwhile, you know in your heart that you really aren't a good person.
Some corporate executives once had admirable character traits that helped them reach the top in their profession. Unfortunately, due to their position of power, they lost their moral compass and became greedy criminals. You should be aware that a person with admirable character traits could change to the negative in some situations. That should be a lesson learned.
Don't get taken by temptation
Resources and references
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Character Conflict of Corporate Greed