HR Frankly

India needs to build a Culture of Ethical Judgement

It is one thing to dream Big, talk even bigger but how many deliver on the words spoken? Every platform any Leader assumed, be it country as stage or company as stage has seen citizens and employees listen to why we need Ethics.

Clarity of Right and Wrongs is for better Governance and thus these high octane talks hope to inspire others, but for as long as laws stay as hand-me-downs of a bygone era without suitable modifications, law alone is powerless to bring CHANGE. We need change in the Working Community who are the most influential to change Society.

One of India Incorporation’s biggest problems today is Corruption. The inability to see and judge ethical and unethical actions is the seed of most down turns in companies that have tanked in the recent past. As we view month on month, new cases of exposed corporate criminality we are growing aware that educated thugs and the unethically inclined work among us, albeit in beautiful suits seated in the best of rooms on the highest floor. So how do they get past the law?

They mostly escape, because one half of our population can be lured by carrots. Carrots that can be exchanged for blind support towards wrong doings or as benefits received for turning the blind eye. Either way you have to be blind and that is what one receives favours for. Selfishness and personal gains are the primary driver in such employees. The other half is too worried about one’s own safety, responsibilities and do not have the wherewithal to address unethical practices of people in power.

This seems simple – far too simple as to why India Incorporation is experiencing a shameful fall to disgrace with so many cases of corruption and money laundering coming out in the open. What is the REAL DEEP reason why most shy away from supporting the Law or getting wrong doers punished by the law?

IT IS YOUR FAULT – this one line has dampened the entire nation, the bulk of our courage, vim, spirit, and confidence. Each Indian from any walk of life has been at the receiving end of it when the fault is NOT theirs at all. Worse, we heard it when we were the victim. This is a unique society that stamps on the one that is hurt and ignores the one that causes harm. Who harms is seen as powerful and thus dangerous. Who is hurt is weak and thus can be clobbered further by social apathy. Let me prove the point.


Your bag gets stolen in the overhead bus luggage rack.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did you keep it there?


Your gold was stolen in a salon when you had a mask on your face.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did you close your eyes?


Your bottom was pinched at a local fair and you were badly molested.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did you go there?


You are victim of a blade company.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did 4% extra returns interest you?


You are sexually harassed by a creep.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why didn’t the creep harass anyone else?


You are victim of deception, lies and false promise.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did you believe anything?


Your car and possessions are stolen.

IT’S YOUR FAULT. Why did you use that Transporter?

It is the fear of falsely parked responsibility and accusations that prevents most employees from raising alarm. This is why ethically weak companies have whistleblowing as policy but demand to know the identity of the exposer so that they can build lobbies and hurt the reporting employee. After the employee is ‘fixed’ the environment of the nonchalant and the brazen blame the whistle-blower for attempting to stand by the law of the land. Years of this circle of events has now created a workplace where most just let wrongs continue until the Law gets home on its own.

Whenever you complain of lawlessness, blame yourself and society because we are responsible for high tolerance to abuse. The day we stop tolerance and hold rule breakers guilty, we will see progress. And for as long as we have frozen watchers who witness rule breaking but stay mum, we will have many colluders. The more silent spectators we birth, we will stay incapable of bringing transformation. The best place for Transformation in this country after schools, is in the Working Indian Society.

We need companies, HR, and Leaders to honour values and ethics. Be rightful and factual in judgement. Be bold and brave to stand by the law. Be willing to address wrong doings and we will have India Incorporation see far less of the embarrassment we now witness. Change NOW or…

Wait for the day, the law changes and states every silent witness is an accomplice.

Seema Raghunathan

A Business & HR professional with forty percent of career in leading an HR Business consultancy. The remainder of her 24-year work experience was spent in Corporate India. Her experience traversed respected brands like Standard Chartered Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Fullerton India, and John Deere with exposure in Banks, NBFC, Insurance, ITES, and Manufacturing & Consulting.
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