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6 Biblical Lessons in Business Ethics From the General Motors Affair

General Motors agreed this week to pay $900 million in fines to settle U.S. government charges that it concealed an ignition-switch defect linked to at least 169 deaths.

The car giant also set aside $575 million to settle a slew of civil lawsuits, bringing to $5.3 billion “the amount GM has spent on a problem prosecutors say could have been fixed at a cost of less than a dollar per car,” The Associated Press reported.

Who is at fault? Investigators say a corporate culture of incompetence and neglect led to the GM mess. The company fired 15 employees, including the vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs, five corporate lawyers, and its liaison with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But GM’s actions leave many questions unanswered. For example, if we assume that corporate culture flows downhill from top-level leaders to front-line employees, why were not more senior executives dismissed?

Here’s a harder question: Would Christian managers, engineers, and lawyers have handled this situation in a different way? If so, how?

The Bible doesn’t talk about product recalls, executive compensation, drilling for oil in Alaska, a minimum wage law, and a host of other contemporary ethical issues.

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