The Parable of the Sahdu

amp. No. (TA Parable of the Sadhu 23 September Big business today realizes corporate social responsibility is not mutually exclusive to doing good business. In fact, businesses today view business ethics as an essential part of their social responsibility to serve their stakeholders well and give back to their communities. This is also how the accounting profession views itself, as a responsible member of the business community that contributes to its overall well-being by making ethical decisions. This is why the accounting profession has adopted a code of ethics for accountants and auditors to go by.
Parable of the Sadhu began with the multi-ethnic and multi-national group of expert mountain climbers who want to reach the top of Mount Everest. One group member who is a part of the New Zealand group of mountaineers discovered the sadhu (an Indian holy man that practices yoga or an ascetic or a mystic) to be lying in the snow almost naked and near death already due to hypothermia (loss of body heat due to the cold). He brought this Indian man to the group to which the author Bowen H. McCoy belonged to so they can take care of him. He was in a hurry to rejoin his group that is already far ahead in the mountains. Members of the group of McCoy gave their food and clothing to the Sadhu so he can recover his strength. The four members of a Swiss group also helped to keep the man warm. The group of the Japanese climbers refused to lend their horse for transporting the Sadhu down the mountains to the next nearest village. The local porters carried the man instead but only half-way to the village and left the sadhu to cover the rest of the way to the village which they pointed out to him. No one in the group had bothered to ask the sadhu why he was there in the place or if he had really wanted to die (McCoy 12). No one also knew whether the sadhu eventually lived or not.
The moral of the story is that people will often act differently when confronted with a situation that requires moral judgment. In this parable, each group of climbers found a reason to help the sadhu but only partially, because each had a higher goal of reaching the mountains peak before the snow steps will melt and make reaching the summit almost impossible. Each person was confronted with an ethical dilemma: whether to continue on with their journey or help out the sadhu and get delayed and probably never reach the mountains peak anymore. At issue in this story is no individual or group was willing to accept responsibility for the sadhu. Many of us as professionals will encounter similar moral dilemmas in which we often are not fully aware of what we had done and its consequences on various stakeholders who may still be affected even in the years to come, many years afterwards (Hartman amp. DesJardins 158).
In the accounting profession, these kind of situations present many times in which the accountant is forced to choose or make a decision. For example, he may be asked by the CEO to window-dress the projected earnings of the company so its stock price will not drop and all will be well. the analysts are happy for meeting their earnings expectations of the firm. Or the auditor may have uncovered some anomalies which require a prompt action and disclosure so the damage to the company will be limited. The auditor faces the dilemma that is a common experience for potential whistle-blowers, whether to divulge what he knows to the authorities. In each case, one should be careful not to exercise normative myopia (ibid. 142) by first doing the ascertaining of facts of each situation and recognize they are faced with an ethical issue. A next logical step is to ask how the various stakeholders will be affected (positively or not) and consider a variety of viable alternatives by using moral imagination (ibid. 144). A person will make a decision based on the probable consequences of his action but individual needs must be reconciled with the higher welfare of a group. Accountants must not help in frauds and the chief goal should always be full and true disclosure (Duska amp. Duska 7).

Works Cited
Duska, R. F. and Duska, B. S. Accounting Ethics. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. Print.
Hartman, Laura P. amp. DesJardins, Joseph R. Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity and Social Responsibility. Columbus, OH, USA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin Companies, 2007. Print.
McCoy, Bowen H. The Parable of the Sadhu. The Work of Teams. Ed. Jon R. Katzenbach. Boston, MA, USA: Harvard Business Press, 1998. 3-14. Print.