Instilling fundamental values, such as ethical treatment of employees, in the workplace will make the Baltimore region competitive as it moves into the next century, says a report released today by leaders of local businesses, religious groups and other organizations.
"Our basic thesis is that positive values are good for the economy and good for the community," said Dr. Mary Ellen Saterlie, a retired associate superintendent for the Baltimore County school system. She was co-chairwoman of the 23-member group that prepared the report.
The six-page report grew out of a 1990 conference organized by the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments.
The group found that, in the past, Baltimore's merchants had been recognized for their integrity.
"It was a good place to do business. We're not so sure that's true today," Dr. Saterlie said.
The report recommends the creation of a regional center housed at the College of Notre Dame for sponsoring values education at area schools.
It also recommends the establishment of a coalition of leaders in business, religion, education and other regional institutions to foster values education.
Issues the group found important include:
* Increasing the education of workers and increasing financial support for education.
* Strengthening family relationships and teacher-student relationships.
* Enhancing labor-management cooperation.
* The need for a broader understanding of the cultural and racial diversity in the region.
* The need for the media to recognize its role in encouraging positive values.
Dr. Saterlie acknowledged that the reports findings, while appearing simple on the surface, "are not easy things to articulate."
Those who served on the group represent a variety of organizations and institutions, including the Maryland Humanities Council, Westinghouse Electric Corp., the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Maryland State Board of Education.
"Sound ethical practices enhance the quality of life of individuals and of society," the report concluded.
"Honesty and quality in services, products and practices provide a competitive edge in the economy," it said. "When embraced by a total community or region, strong moral principles which have stood the test of time empower each person and provide the base for a thriving economy."
The report said "values and ethics in the workplace apply equally to employees and employers. They also reflect the moral standards and expectations of the broader community."