What is Rotary?

Rotary is an association of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 159 countries around the world. More than 1.2 million business and professional men and women constitute the membership of these clubs which share the purposes of providing humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations, and building good will and peace in the world. They give life to the Rotary motto: Service Above Self.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

First - The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

Second - High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

Third - The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;

Fourth - The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The 4-Way Test

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy.

Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International in 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. The text is printed below:

Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 

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