Type: Business
Pages: 5 | Words: 1454
Reading Time: 7 Minutes

“The Parable of the Sadhu” is a story about the trip of McCoy and a group of other international individuals hiking through Nepal, and the ethical dilemma they encountered made McCoy think about individual and corporate responsibility. After the sadhu, who was suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia, was dumped at the feet of the travelers, they all decided to proceed with their journey to the mountain summit, leaving the stranger behind with food and clothes in the middle of nowhere, despite the fact that he was sick. Evidently, nobody was willing to accept full responsibility for the stranger, but each of them did their best as long as it did not inconvenience them. Apparently, an individual’s efforts, however well-intentioned they are, cannot succeed without the support of the group. This essay analyses the persuasive strategies McCoy uses to put his point across effectively, including the purpose and audience of his message and the topic of the article. The strategies include appeals to the audience via rhetorical elements such as ethos, pathos, logos, as well as the literary devices used in the article.

Balancing Morality and Culture in “The Parable of the Sadhu”

The main topic in “The Parable of the Sadhu” is the breakdown between individual ethics and corporate responsibility (104), and the need for corporations to develop cultures that support individual values and the success of the whole group (108).

The main purpose of the article is to persuade the readers to uphold their moral ethics by always doing the right things, irrespective of whoever needs their help. By means of narration, the author presents to the reader a story of a sick sadhu who requires care and attention, yet the travelers just help him partially and continue their journey leaving him lying in the sun far away from the closest village. The fact that the writer presents a common story that the reader can relate to his personal experience, makes the story more intimate and interesting to read. Another purpose of the article is to challenge organizations to adopt a culture of openness and support for individual needs and values for the benefit and success of the whole group as put forward in this statement: “It is the management’s challenge to be sensitive to individual needs, to shape them, to direct and focus them for the benefit of the group as a whole” (109).

The main audience of the article is corporations, including their executives and employees. This is evident in McCoy’s statement when he said, “How the group responded, I think, holds a lesson for all organizations no matter how defined” (102). The author challenges corporations to develop a value system that supports the needs and values of their individual employees and acts as a guide when faced with ethical dilemmas such as the one presented in the story.

McCoy manages to make the reader believe in the content of his article via his ethical appeal (ethos). The author’s vast experience in corporate leadership and management, which he gained as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, lecturer of ethics and finance at Stanford, UCLA among other universities, as well as being the previous chairman of Stanford’s Center for Economic Policy, makes him very credible and worth the reader’s respect because of the background information concerning the topic he has. Throughout the story, the writer presents McCoy as a compassionate person, who feels sorry for not helping the sadhu. As a result, this makes McCoy a likable character to the reader.

The author manages to appeal to the reader’s emotions through narrating the story in a personal way, coupled with a series of questions that invoke the reader’s imagination, sympathies and concern. For instance, when describing the sadhu he said, “. . . the almost naked, barefoot body of an Indian holy man – a Sadhu. . . the pilgrim lying on the ice, shivering and suffering from hypothermia” (103). From the description one cannot help but feel sorry for the half-naked and barefoot sick man lying on the ice.

The author effectively conveys his message to the reader via his clear and consistent claims and the way he supports them with logical reasoning. For example, when he asked why Stephen, with his strong morals, did not choose to provide personal care to the sadhu, he replied that it was partially because Stephen was physically exhausted and lacked the support of the other group members, making the task fall behind his capability (108). McCoy’s reasoning makes sense to the reader, making his message believable.

The sadhu has been used in the article to symbolize everybody who is in need of help. In our everyday life, we encounter several sadhus who require our assistance. McCoy asked, “Should we stop what we are doing and comfort them, or should we keep trudging up toward the high pass? (109).

The name Stephen has been repeated countless times throughout the article – an indication that he is the main character in the story, the one with the strongest moral vision among all the characters.

The article “The Parable of the Sadhu” is a story of McCoy’s 60-day journey to the Himalayan Mountains with his colleagues and the ethical dilemma they faced in the course of their trip. The main issue discussed in this article is the author’s persuasive strategies, which include appeals to the audience, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, and literary devices, i.e., symbolism, repetition, etc. The author challenges organizations to develop value systems that support individual values and provide direction to their employees for the benefit of the whole company.

Ethical Leadership and Corporate Culture

In the context of “The Parable of the Sadhu,” the story illuminates the profound impact of ethical leadership – or its absence – on the decisions and actions of groups facing moral dilemmas. This chapter explores the essence of ethical leadership and its pivotal role in cultivating a corporate culture where individual and corporate responsibilities align, fostering an environment of mutual support and ethical integrity.

Ethical leadership is defined as the practice of influencing people through principles, values, and beliefs that embrace what we consider morally right. Ethical leaders are crucial for setting the tone at the top, shaping organizational behavior, and steering the corporate culture towards ethical excellence. They play a vital role in modeling ethical behavior, making decisions that reflect the organization’s values, and encouraging a culture of transparency and accountability.

Characteristics of Ethical Leaders

Ethical leaders exhibit traits that are not only admirable but also essential for the promotion of ethical behavior within an organization. These traits include:

  • Integrity: Demonstrating honesty and consistency in thought and action, aligning personal and organizational values.
  • Empathy: Understanding and considering the feelings and perspectives of others, fostering a supportive workplace.
  • Fairness: Making impartial decisions, ensuring equal treatment for all employees.
  • Inspirational: Motivating employees to aspire to higher ethical standards through their own example.

The Impact of Leadership on Corporate Culture

Leaders have a profound influence on the development and perpetuation of corporate culture. Through their actions and decisions, leaders communicate what is valued within the organization, directly impacting employees’ behavior and attitudes towards ethics. A culture that prioritizes ethical behavior encourages employees to speak up about ethical concerns and supports them in making ethical decisions, even in challenging situations.

Strategies for Promoting Ethical Behavior

To foster an ethical corporate culture, leaders can employ various strategies, including:

  • Ethical Training Programs: Implement comprehensive training that not only covers the organization’s code of ethics but also engages employees in real-life ethical dilemma scenarios.
  • Clear Communication of Ethical Standards: Articulate and disseminate the organization’s ethical standards clearly and frequently to ensure everyone understands the expected behavior.
  • Mechanisms for Ethical Decision-Making: Establish and communicate processes for ethical decision-making, including channels for seeking advice on ethical dilemmas and reporting unethical behavior without fear of retaliation.

Despite its importance, ethical leadership is not without challenges. Leaders may face pressure to compromise on ethics for short-term gains, struggle with ambiguous situations that lack clear ethical guidelines, or encounter resistance within the organization. Overcoming these obstacles requires steadfast commitment to ethical principles, ongoing dialogue about ethics within the organization, and a willingness to make tough decisions that uphold the organization’s values.

The narrative of “The Parable of the Sadhu” serves as a powerful reminder of the critical need for ethical leadership in navigating the complex interplay between individual and corporate ethics. Ethical leaders are instrumental in creating an organizational culture that supports ethical decision-making and fosters a sense of collective responsibility. By embodying ethical principles in their leadership, encouraging open communication, and implementing structures that support ethical behavior, leaders can ensure that their organizations not only succeed in the marketplace but also contribute positively to the broader community.

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