Friday, November 8, 2013

Rande Somma Ethics Dinner and Presentation

On November 6, Robert Morris University hosted the third Annual Somma Integrity First Intersection. The event provides students with the ability to augment what they have already learned in their classes about the importance of ethics in business and how it makes good business sense. The event also provides students the topic for the Rande and Georgia Somma “Integrity First” Business Scholarship Award.
Students of all School of Business degree programs filed into the International Suite at Sewall Center to get their seats, network with other students, listen to a stirring lecture by Dr. Jodi Potter on the importance of acceptable ethical behavior in the business environment, and to work with one another on the case study for the evening.
Dean Beehler starting the ceremonies.
Dean Beehler opening proceedings with a short lecture on the importance of the scholarship provided by Rande Somma and how ethics has become a cornerstone in everyday business solutions. Dr. Potter followed Dean Beehler and provided more information on how to deal with the inevitable ethical dilemma future business leaders will face. The lecture by Dr. Potter allowed students who have not had her as a Professor to walk away with a few tests they can use, like the Harm Test (does this do more harm than good?), the Publicity Test (would I want my choice of this option published ?), or the Professional Test (what might my profession’s ethics committee say about this?).
Dr Potter starting her lecture on the importance of Ethics.
The push for more education on ethics early in education helps future business leaders with the notion of what constitutes ethical behavior and what does not. The world is not just black and white but trillions of shades of grey as ethical dilemmas are happening every day at various levels in companies all around the world. The earlier you become aware of the importance of making ethical decisions, the better business leader you will become. A key takeaway from last night’s talk was from Rande Somma himself with the notion that it is okay to fall on your sword. It is not easy for someone to take responsibility for a poor decision, but if that person then works diligently towards rebuilding the trust with external and internal stakeholders, it shows a commitment to for being open to discussion and admitting they were wrong, which is an uncommon site today.
Attendants working on the case study, the Legionnaires Outbreak in the Pittsburgh VA Hospitals. 
If business leaders fail to see beyond the initial costs and savings and never recognize the true cost of doing business, they cannot efficiently succeed. Of course, the true cost of business is hard to quantify; but with a solid education, business accruement and solid team around you, the true cost of business should not be that hard to quantify. The business will build a strong feeling of trust with the internal and external stakeholders and rally around the business when the ethical decisions need to be made.
The students who the faculty believed presented the best analysis of the case study for the evening. Each recipient received a $20 Sheetz Gift Card.
Also announced last night were the winners of the 2013 Somma Integrity First Scholarship:
Roberto D. DaSilva
Megan L. Herbstritt
Daniel W. Oberst
Steven M. Tessaro (Third time winning!)
The winners of the 2013 Somma Integrity First Scholarship!
Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to those who are going to try for the 2014 Somma Integrity First Scholarship! If you want to apply for the 2014 Somma Integrity First Scholarship you have until Friday, January 31st is to write a paper on the Penn State sex scandal. One of the critical questions arising from these investigations is the motivation of stakeholders, both internal and external, who knew about Sandusky’s behavior but failed to report it.

The scholarship application and case analysis will be due by 5pm on Friday, January 31st. Scholarship materials will be emailed to all SBUS students. If students have questions they can contact Dr. Daria Crawley, SBUS Ethics Committee Chairperson at 412-397-6379 or

Post Written by Ian Munroe, Photos by Dave "Buddha" Budziszewski

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