Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks – April 8, 2014



Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks

Examining ethics and compliance issues in business since 1987

Editor’s Top Choice:

Who cares about ethics?
Meredith McGehee, Policy Director for the Huffington Post writes, “This past Sunday, theWashington Post ran an op-ed by one of their editors, Hilary Krieger, asking whether ‘a little corruption should matter to voters.’ She reported that D.C. incumbent mayoral candidate Vincent Gray has won her over, despite his ethical and campaign finance challenges. And she goes on to make the case that we may have tipped too far toward concern about ethical standards for public officials at the expense of good stewardship and the ability to ‘getting results in a fractious system.’

It is dismaying to see such a high-profile defense of low standards of ethical behavior for public officials. Those of us who have worked on ethics in politics know all too well that the public can often be inattentive or agnostic when confronted with stories about the ethical misbehaviors of their elected officials. The most logical explanation for this reaction is the low expectations that most Americans already have for their public (and especially, elected) officials – a streak that is as American as apple pie…” Read more

Other Featured Picks of the Week

Reinforcing a culture of integrity in your workforce

From Aarti Maharaj, contributor to The FCPA Blog, “Amid the string of corporate scandals that has left behind a climate of suspicion, corporate leaders are exploring new ways to build and maintain public trust.

According to a recent opening keynote at the Ethisphere/Thomson Reuters annual Global Ethics Summit in New York City on March 20 and 21, the key is working with the right people to avoid potential reputational risks.

‘Company concerns are very much beyond just business conduct. Personal behavior and personal conduct now more than ever can reflect poorly upon the company,’ said Larry Thompson, executive vice president, government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary of PepsiCo.

Moderated by Holly J. Gregory, a partner at Sidley Austin, the discussion provided insights into the evolving role of the compliance officer…” Read more

5 reasons you need to instill values in your organizationJessica A. Amortegui, contributor for Fast Company writes, “It is an old truism: employees do not turn to written statements on the company intranet for clues about how to behave—they look to each other. If your goal is to intentionally shape the actions and interactions of employees, you know the importance of creating a ‘values-based’ culture. However, you also know how difficult it is to implement one.

Zappos, a present-day paragon, has seemed to crack the cultural code. So much in fact that they have built a business that teaches others how do it. Thousands of companies from around the world travel to the Las Vegas headquarters to see how Zapponians ‘live their 10 WOW values.’ They can choose the 60-minute tour to observe the culture in action or attend a fully immersive, 3-day boot camp. If you take a moment to consider this fact, it is quite amazing. Zappos turned their culture into an attraction that warrants a price for admission. In doing so, they send a clear message to all those who seek the proverbial keys to the cultural kingdom: it is not easy to replicate the ‘secret sauce.’” Read more

Business ethics 101: Care, deliver, and do the right thingDeborah Shane of Small Business Trends writes, “‘A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.’ ~ Albert Camus

I have always enjoyed his thinking and writing. He makes so much sense to me when it comes to – for every action, there is a reaction.

A French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist and philosopher, Camus contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as existentialism, which proposes that human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.

This meaning starts with our personal fundamentals, values and ethics. This is the foundation for a solid brand and reputation in the business space. If you want to be respected, taken seriously, referred and enjoy long term success, high business ethics must be our priority. Ethics are the values, company morals and culture in all your interactions and relationships. It’s your moral compass…” Read more

An African perspective: Social culture ‘Ubuntu’ at workFrom Swazi Observer:

“Africa like other continents has a unique culture that distinguishes it from the rest of the world.

Unique as we are as a continent, we have to a greater extent adopted the Western way of doing things; from business to social activities. In essence, we have become global citizens, but the truth remains that we have our unique identity that differentiates us from the rest of the world.

The topic today -social culture at work is aimed at reflecting on our social culture, how it affects organizational performance in terms of productivity.

When doing business, Africa practices and implements business ethics from the Western culture. The Western culture and way of practice is such that it is every man for himself, yet here in Africa we still have the old tradition and values of Ubuntu.

The principle of Ubuntu is what has distinguished us from the rest of the globe.

The West is totally driven by capitalism, where if a leader is hired and brings into the organization an employee, that employee has to perform and deliver, if not, he is shown the exit door. In the Western culture and way of doing business, it is such that business has no room for the weaklings. Only the fittest survive to climb and soar in business, politics and or whatever sphere of influence it may be…” Read more

It’s complicated: When a CEO’s personal position becomes publicFrom the NPR & OPB,

“The Mozilla controversy that played out over the past two weeks bursts with ironies. And this one is perhaps the most prominent: The free speech that Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich spent his life’s work defending and enabling—and an open-Web revolution Eich helped lead—drove his unseating. It raises questions about how a company leader’s personal convictions should be judged.

After a public, pitched debate over whether Eich was fit to lead given his 2008 donation to California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, Eich decided for himself that he wasn’t. He resigned Thursday despite many Mozillians who came to his defense, in response to other Mozillians who called for his ouster.

The Web as it is today might not exist without the brilliant technologist Eich. He invented JavaScript, was an early architect of the Web and co-founded Mozilla, the company and foundation behind the popular Internet browser, Firefox. His passion for the Web and its users has always been clear. In a late 2013 interview, he described his charge as ‘working on the Web and working on making sure the user is king or queen of their experience.’

At Mozilla, putting users first, openness and inclusiveness are core to the organization’s beliefs—and operations. Mozilla’s technology is created in public — in stark contrast to its competitors like Microsoft and Google—and as it became clear when Eich was named CEO, its internal debates are quite public, too.

‘This is an organization that is extremely transparent, where a number of employees had said, I don’t feel comfortable being led by this person,’ says Anil Dash, a technology startup founder and a longtime Mozilla community member. ‘It’s been polarizing because this seemed in contradiction to a lot of the values of openness that the organization helped create has espoused.’” Read more

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