Moral Mazes

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by Robert Jackall

This classic study of ethics in business presents an eye-opening account of how corporate managers think the world works, and how big organizations shape moral consciousness. Robert Jackall takes the reader inside a topsy-turvy world where hard work does not necessarily lead to success, but sharp talk, self-promotion, powerful patrons, and sheer luck might. What sort of everyday rules-in-use do people play by when there are no fixed standards to explain why some succeed and others fail? In the words of one corporate manager, those rules boil down to this maxim: "What is right in the corporation is what the guy above you wants from you. That's what morality is in the corporation."

This brilliant, disturbing, funny look at the ethos of the corporate world presents compelling real life stories of the men and women charged with running the businesses of America. This anniversary edition includes an afterword by the author linking the themes of Moral Mazes to the financial tsunami that engulfed the world economy in 2008.

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Younger managers learn quickly that, whatever the public protestations to the contrary, bosses generally want pliable and agreeable subordinates, especially during periods of crisis. Clique leaders want dependable, loyal allies. Thos who regularly raise objections to what a boss or a clique leader really desires run the risk of being considered problems themselves and of being labeled "outspoken," or "nonconstructive," or "doomsayers," "naysayers," or "crepehangers.

— Robert Jackall, Moral Mazes