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Board Room Policy

Few executives can afford the luxury of a conscience. A business that defined right and wrong in terms that would satisfy a well-developed contemporary conscience could not survive. When the directors and managers enter the board room to debate policy, they park their private consciences outside. If they didn't they would fail in their responsibility to the company that pays them. The crucial question in board rooms today is not, "Are we morally obligated to do it"? but rather "What will happen if we don't do it"? or "How will this affect the rate of return on our investment"? No company employs a vice president in charge of ethical standards, and sooner or later the conscientious executive is likely to come up against a stone wall of corporate indifference to private moral values. In the real world of today's business, he is almost surely a troubled man.

Dan Miller, Chicago Daily News, July 29, 1970