LC Bulletin: Applying tribal ethics in business

April 5, 2013. Retrieved online April 18, 2013 from Janet Perez, Las Cruces Bulletin

NMSU researcher: Ethics are universal, but views vary

For the Las Cruces Bulletin

While existing side-by-side, Native American tribal life and the business world beyond it often seem to be worlds apart.

However, one New Mexico State University faculty member has discovered some surprising similarities between traditional tribal values and those of the outside business world.

Grace Ann Rosile, an associate professor of management at NMSU’s College of Business, is studying how Native American tribal values can be applied in today’s business world. Today, technology has created a “global village” and these ancient ethical perspectives, which come from tribal communities, suddenly seem very relevant again.

Entrepreneurs can navigate the outside business world while remaining true to their tribal beliefs.

“When I first started studying this, there was very little written about tribal values as they relate to the conduct of business,” Rosile said.”In the past, there was often an assumption (by Native Americans) that if you wanted to stay true to your Native values you couldn’t sell out to the business world, or you shouldn’t.

“What I’m trying to show is there are now some native scholars and some practicing business people who say, ‘You know, maybe we can, and here are some ideas and some ways that we can be successful in the Western business world and still stay true to tribal values.’” Rosile has been a Daniels Fund Ethics fellow since 2010, when the university received a $1.25 million grant to develop a principle-based ethics program over five years. The grant is part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, whose goal is to strengthen principle-based ethics education and foster a high standard of ethics in young people.

In the paper, “Comparing Daniels Principles of Business Ethics and Tribal Ethics,” Rosile and her co-authors, NMSU colleagues Don Pepion, associate professor of anthropology and a member of the Blackfeet Tribe; David Boje, business professor; and Joe Gladstone, assistant professor of public health administration and member of the Blackfeet and Nez Perce tribes, identified “Eight Aspects of Tribal Wisdom for Business Ethics.”

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article

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