I spent an interesting day talking about western business ethics with 39 oil field workers from Angola. They’re all on their way back to Africa after studying in Canada for an extended time.
We make think we have better ethics than other countries, and in terms of some practices, maybe we do. When it comes to personal ethics or habits, I’m not too sure.
These workers are in their 20s and 30s and they can’t understand a few things about us. Such as:
- why so many people swear so much
- why people dresss so casually, sloppily or so revealing when the go to church (or the shopping center)
- why tattoos and piercings are so popular
- why we don’t treat those older or in a higher positions in a company with respect in how we address them
These were some of the questions and it made me recognize how much North American society has changed in the past 20 to 30 years. It’s not that long ago when saying, “Hello, Mr. Smith,” was the proper way for young people to address adults, rather than by their first name.
We can blame television and movies for making us more disrepectful, casual and crude, but what’s really to “blame”. I grew up in a world much like the Angolan students talked about and I think maybe we’ve moved too far from the world of showing respect to others. Your thoughts?