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General Urges B-School To Focus on Ethics

By Matthew A. Light

Citing years of command experience in both the military and business, America's first Black four-star general yesterday called on corporate executives to consider more carefully the needs of their employees and to pay more attention to ethics.

At an afternoon speech at the Business School, Roscoe Robinson, who has served as a representative to NATO and now sits on several corporate boards, said, "A leader must build a cohesive unit that can function as a team." He added that leaders should be responsible for training their subordinates, not just commanding them.

Robinson discussed how demographic shifts should affect American business leaders' management styles. He said that executives often have failed to keep abreast of changes in the composition of the workforce.

"Many management techniques of today are geared to a white, male workforce," he said, pointing out that most new workers between now and the year 2000 will be women, non-whites, or new immigrants.

He said business leaders should develop more sensitivity to cultural differences and should redouble their efforts to increase the representation of women and minorities in top positions.

Robinson also said that personal integrity is perhaps the most essential leadership quality. He said, "Standards must not be lowered, because once they are, it becomes increasingly easy to rationalize them away altogether."

"We must show," he said, "that honorable conduct is the norm."

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