The Week In Ethics Blog

Johnson & Johnson on the Defensive for Reputation Hits

The Week in Ethics

Johnson & Johnson on the Defensive for Reputation Hits

Monday, January 18, 2010

Update, October 1, 2010: Johnson & Johnson’s long reputation battle continues. CEO William C. Weldon admitted to a congressional committee that the company failed to maintain “our high quality standards” and is spending $100 million to fix quality problems that led to last spring’s recall, which are part of a series of recalls J&J has […]

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“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee on Standards and Privileges began an official investigation into Peter Robinson, the leader of Northern Ireland, and his wife Iris Robinson, a member of the House of Commons and Northern Ireland Assembly. Mrs. Robinson is embroiled in a scandal involving an affair she had in 2008 with a then-teenager […]

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Government’s Misconduct Trumps Charges Against Broadcom Executives

Monday, January 4, 2010

When last we left Broadcom’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) problems two months ago, (Broadcom’s Backdaters: The Trials of Many Tears) several former executives had pled guilty to a felony, settled with the SEC or were either on trial (former CFO William Ruehle) or awaiting trial (co-founder Henry Nicholas III). The Department of Justice was […]

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The Ethics of Obesity Part III: Please, Something Good to Eat

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Since 1980 U.S. obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children; this epidemic cannot be dismissed as a failure of willpower or exercise. Obesity can be linked to many factors including feeding practices in infancy, imprinted genes, metabolic issues, fructose, anxiety disorders, depression, “behavioral sympathy,” race, trauma, eating certain restaurant and other food […]

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The Ethics of Obesity Part II: Dying for Fast Food?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obesity has a deeply emotional aspect that defies easy solutions. It remains to be seen what ethical leadership will emerge from the food, beverage, restaurant, and fast food industries in really addressing their part in the obesity crisis. The industries are being politically correct donating money and having promotions to advertise healthy life choices. They […]

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Tiger Woods: The Ethics of Golf vs. the Golfer

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Update December 4, 2011: Tiger Woods has won his first golf tournament since the scandal this column addressed two years ago. Golfers adhere to a code of conduct unique in sports. From tee to green, they referee themselves. Expected to follow the rules, if they break any, they call penalties on themselves. It is the […]

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The Ethics of Obesity Part One: CPK’s Gotcha Menu

Monday, November 30, 2009

Restaurant CEOs have to determine what leadership, if any, their companies will take in America’s obesity crisis. More than two-thirds of Americans adults are categorized as obese or overweight; mounting medical research links eating habits to several preventable diseases. Estimates are that most Americans eat out at least 50% each week. Restaurants’ leaders have a […]

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The Congressional Record: Genentech’s House Organ?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Genentech, the biotechnology behemoth, has been caught ghostwriting and mass marketing its ideas on health care reform and putting them into the mouths of a few dozen congressmen, many of whom entered the statements into the Congressional Record as their own. The repetitiveness of the statements triggered a New York Times reporter’s investigation which found […]

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World Series Meltdown: McCourts Strike Out

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Frank and Jamie McCourt are a classic case study in how to abdicate leadership and undermine the reputation of a franchise by trashing their own. They presented themselves to Los Angeles five years ago as a duo committed to building the Dodgers franchise into the greatest ballclub. Their timing stripping away their marriage’s veneer in […]

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Broadcom’s Backdaters: The Trials of Many Tears

Monday, November 2, 2009

Options backdating is about failure of ethical leadership. And, according to a study released in August 2009, the act of uncovering and disclosing stock option backdating can lead to improvements in management and financial performance. Aren’t leaders who lie about options backdating more likely to cut other corners?  Even if their goals undermine their organizations’ […]

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Most Recent

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 O’Brien is an expert in building trust and reputation based on shared values. She brings ethics to life. Her passion for ethics is palpable because it’s genuine. Gael is an excellent facilitator, coach, teacher, and writer. Her workshops have been enriching the lives of our students and we’re honored to feature Gael’s ethics articles on our web site. What sets Gael apart? She has an amazing ability to analyze complex ethical leadership challenges from multiple perspectives at once. She sees the big picture and immediately gets to the heart of the matter, digging beneath the surface to get to the real issues that may be causing a breakdown. Then, with all the kindness in the world, she asks some really tough questions. This is when the healing process begins. Gael’s keen sense of strategy, coupled with a truly compassionate heart, has made her one of our most trusted advisors and champions.

Jane Roeder
Director, Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at CSULB