Ethics in Business mentor Jeffrey L. Seglin answers the following question from an visitor:
I am an ethicist and philosopher interested in starting up a business ethics consultancy firm. But how can I go about consulting when I lack a great deal of business experience?

Jeffrey L. Seglin responds:
This question doesn't just apply to your situation but also to others in which the credentials of the advice giver beg the question, Is this person qualified to be giving advice?

In my opinion, if you're truly planning to focus on helping businesses go through the process of ethical decision making -- and aren't planning to fobyourself off as an expert in day-to-day business management -- you may be on solid ethical ground.

That doesn't mean you should not immerse yourself in the client's business in order to understand the challenges that he or she faces and the various constituents that will be affected by the advice you give. I urge you to consider doing this as part of your self-education.

It may be nice to assume that ethics transcends any of the gritty, in-the-trenches management stuff, but to be truly useful, you should gain as much knowledge about the business itself before doling out advice.

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Published on: Sep 6, 2000