The Week In Ethics Blog

Character Counts, Just Not So Much at Nike: Ben Roethlisberger’s Fumble

The Week in Ethics

Character Counts, Just Not So Much at Nike: Ben Roethlisberger’s Fumble

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update April 21, 2010: The NFL announced it is suspending Roethlisberger for six games as a result of violating its “personal conduct policy.” Steelers President Art Rooney hedged on answering whether the team was shopping the quarterback. Will Nike continue to stand behind bad behavior? Nike’s ads have long captured winning athletes and sports “heroes” […]

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Mine Safety and Don Blankenship’s Leadership Lessons

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update, December 7, 2011: Alpha Natural Resources, which purchased Massey Energy earlier this year, settled with the federal government December 6, 2011, agreeing to pay $209 million in penalties (civil, criminal, and restitution) to avoid Alpha’s facing criminal charges for the explosion 20 months ago in Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners. […]

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The Hidden Costs in Excessive Executive Compensation

Monday, April 5, 2010

The recently released Wall Street Journal’s CEO Pay Survey, the New York Times Executive Pay tables and other headlines about CEO pay increases found in proxy statements brought home again how the extreme imbalance of CEO pay compared to their employees’ can undermine a corporate culture, especially where values like trust, loyalty, and fairness matter. […]

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Lehman Brothers’ Perfect Storm: Where Ethical Lapses Met Bad Judgment

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update: September 9, 2013: Five years ago this month Lehman Brothers collapsed. The New York Times reports today about the SEC’s several- year investigation, internal disputes over whether evidence against Lehman was strong enough to bring charges, and why they haven’t. Update August 26, 2011: Former CEO Richard Fuld and 12 other Lehman executives and […]

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Toyota and the Ethics of Greed

Thursday, March 4, 2010

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, said this week that he had once worked hard to have Toyota locate an engine plant in his state because he knew it was a company built on the philosophy of quality first. “If they designed and built the safest and most reliable cars possible, then sales and profits would […]

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Toyota’s Focus on Process not People

Thursday, February 25, 2010

There is a saying “you get what you focus on.” Jim Lentz, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said yesterday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings that “We lost sight of our customers.” Toyota documents from July 2009 released this week by a Congressional committee include an internal memo citing company success […]

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Reputation and Image at Toyota

Monday, February 15, 2010

Toyota’s challenges of the past several months are more than just a case study of what not to do if you want to avoid a crisis. How events have unfolded actually speak to the nature of corporate reputation, what is perceived, what is real, and how both get managed. There is a distinction between image […]

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Five Ways Toyota Can Take the Road Back to Trust

Monday, February 8, 2010

Update: March 19, 2014: U.S Attorney General Eric Holder announced a $1.2 billion criminal penalty is imposed on Toyota for “hiding safety defects from the public,” concluding a four-year investigation of Toyota’s handling of its unintended acceleration issue. Trust and reputation decline in proportion to how big the gap is between cultivated corporate image and […]

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Why Sundance Films Matter

Saturday, January 30, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KRD8e20fBo Jim Clark, founder of Netscape, is an example of social responsibility at its most effective in his financial backing of a 2009 award-winning Sundance Film Festival movie, “The Cove,” shown in theatres last summer and released in DVD last month. The film about the secret annual slaughter of 23,000 dolphins in Taiji, Japan created […]

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The Two Faces of Corporate Responsibility: Haiti and Bonuses

Friday, January 22, 2010

The best and worst examples of how corporate responsibility connects with reality are colliding with each other, building and destroying credibility simultaneously. The outpouring of U.S. corporate money to Haiti, $43 M in the first 72 hours and more than $83 M two days ago demonstrates a sense of corporate responsibility that is fundamental to […]

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Making Ethics Real Makes Leadership Real

What is the key to effective leadership? The answer is ethics. However, if this doesn’t seem an easy sell…stay with it. Making ethics real makes leadership real. We’ll look at four ways to bring this home. First, some context. Ethical Failures When ethics isn’t a key driver in an organization, the fallout from ethical lapses […]

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Gillette’s Leadership, the Backlash and Possibility

Gillette released this week a short film “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” Some criticize it as an attack on men; others disagree and see it as inspiring and hopeful. My take is the under two-minute video illustrates another Fortune 500 company’s courage and leadership to try and use the power of its brand […]

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2018 Leadership Lessons

It isn’t just leaders’ abilities and experience that give them confidence. Authentic confidence means leaders realize that as smart as they are, their view or approach might be wrong. And what they do about that either fuels ethical leadership or spawns disaster. A significant cause of leadership failure in 2018, as in the past, was […]

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Gael has proven to be a source of thoughtful and actionable advice on issues related to corporate culture and ethics. Her academic knowledge is a useful supplement to her practical experience and tailored advice.

Fred Kipperman J.D.
Vice President, Global Client Development
Praedicat Inc., RAND’s First Commercial Spin-Off