The aim of college courses is to prepare students for their professional lives. In our IMC class we have been assigned books that teach us ideas, facts, values, and more. To teach us more about the importance of values in business we read Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince.
This book is Machiavelli’s guide to holding and seizing power. The Prince was written in 1513 for Lorenzo de’ Medici, the prince of Florence. Despite its age, this book remains popular and important for those involved in government, politics, and positions of power. Machiavelli uses the book as a way to give calculated advice backed up by examples. Throughout the book, Machiavelli sets morals aside and focuses on how to attain goals of power. He teaches readers how to use violence, lies, abilities, and luck to force others under your control.
How does this book teach us values? After reading The Prince we wrote a memo to our chancellor to either recommend or not recommend Machiavelli as an IMC consultant based off of his ideas within the book. We had to decide if we were willing to risk our values and beliefs to accomplish our goals as a university.
Machiavelli makes decisions based off of research, forms consistent messages, and knows how to accomplish goals in the most direct, efficient way. This may seem like the way to go if his suggestions fit the company’s mission and vision. In other cases, this drive to complete a goal without respecting values could ultimately lead to the demise of the company’s image. We should ask ourselves if the product really is great or if that is just a claim to get more money? If being great is just a claim the next question is: is it worth it to be dishonest and ignore values to get what we want? This decision between honesty and power is something many professionals have to face and we were able to learn this lesson with help from Machiavelli’s The Prince.
– Carissa Niederkorn, Deji Adeleke, Anna Kate Babnik, Tiffany Evans, & Katie Eagle