This is the first of a series of brief interviews discussing business ethics to be published in ethikos.
AT: You spend most of your time with students but also substantial time engaging with the business community. What do the business people tell you about the ethics they’re seeing in former students entering the workforce?
PF: This reminds me of Paul Lynde singing “Kids” from Bye Bye Birdie. It seems that every generation views theirs as the best, hardest working, most ethical, while the next generation is a bunch of entitled “slackers.” This can be a function of how and where we work. When Baby Boomers were entering the workforce, they were often expected to show up in the office on Saturday morning for “face time.” You could leave once the managing partner made a mental note of you being there. These Baby Boomers are now partners and managers, and when they see empty cubicles on a Saturday morning, they think work isn’t getting done. What’s more likely is that the Millennial workers are drinking coffee at a Starbucks with great wi-fi, and possibly getting more work done than the Boomers did years ago.