For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
—Mark 8:36 (King James Version)
Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz asked that question in a memo to his company's leadership team in 2007, wondering if the stores had lost the soul of the past. But for many business leaders around the globe, soul has no place in business, and ethics comes down to the slippery concept of “the morals of the marketplace”—meaning “Anything for a buck,” or “If other people do it, it must be okay.”
That was how German electronics giant Siemens approached the question, “Should we pay someone a bribe if that will help us bring in business?” Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it has ...