Baylor, BBB Launch Community Ethics Partnership

Oct. 5, 2000

by Alan Hunt

Is integrity in danger of going to the dogs? "It's one of those virtues that seemingly is so obvious, yet we are living in a culture where maybe it is not as obvious as it seems," suggested David Thomas, a motivational speaker from Houston, at Baylor University Oct. 5. "Maybe we need to be stressing it more than we do."

Thomas was speaking at a news conference to announce the launch of a community ethics partnership between the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving the Heart of Texas and Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

The initiative, known as PACE (Partnership for the Advancement of Community Ethics), was described by Dr. Terry Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business, and C.J. Pederson, BBB president and CEO, as a means of building "enduring partnerships" among companies and organizations in the heart of Texas that practice and apply ethical behavior on a daily basis.

Thomas, president of IntegriTalk, Houston, stresses the importance of integrity through motivational speeches and seminars before corporations, universities and organizations. He will be the featured speaker at the BBB's fifth annual Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics banquet to be held Nov. 2 at the Hankamer School of Business.

Underscoring his message, he referred to a recent Wall Street Journal story about corporate losses due to insider theft actually overtaking losses incurred through shoplifting. The story reported that in a three-year period, insider theft had gone up 34 percent to reach a $13 billion level, as opposed to shoplifting at the $10 billion dollar level.

Said Thomas, "When you see that we have a total $23 billion dollar annual theft, both insider and out, you realize there's a problem."

He said the great thing about integrity is that it has such positive results. Research conducted in the early 1990s, he said, showed corporations that consistently valued their employees, their shareholders and directors enjoyed a four-times faster revenue growth and a seven-time faster job growth than their counterparts over an 11-year period.

Maness said PACE plans to sponsor Ethics Emphasis Week every November to advance ethics awareness and education through guest speakers, seminars, research, public service projects and awards programs for educational institutions, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

"It seemed to be a natural partnership for us in the Hankamer School of Businesss, because ethics has been an important part of our curriculum for a number of years," he said. "Also, we have several faculty members who are very active in research in the area of business and Christian ethics. I think it's something that fits naturally with the school of business at an institution like Baylor."

He said the PACE initiative has provided an opportunity for the school to take ethics outside the classroom and get students involved in something beyond the Baylor campus. "The PACE partnership has broadened the horizons of what we have been doing on the campus," he said. "This partnership will pay dividends in expanding the focus of ethics in the Waco community."

Pederson, describing the partnership as one of the most important events for the Better Business Bureau in its 41-year history, said the BBB's Education Foundation and the Hankamer School of Business will serve as the managing partners of PACE. "Heart of Texas organizations are encouraged to become PACE Partners through an Ethics Certification Program to be developed by the BBB Education Foundation and the Hankamer School of Business. Volunteers from community companies and organizations who make their time available to work on projects sponsored by PACE will be designated as 'PACE Setters.'"

He added, "Ethics Emphasis Week will culminate each year with an awards banquet, at which the prestigious annual BBB Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics will remain the key activity. In addition, we will have the opportunity to honor companies and organizations that have become PACE Partners during the year."

For more information, call Pederson at (254) 755-7775 or Dr. Phil Van Auken, professor of management at the Hankamer School of Business, at (254) 710-6154.

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