Category: Business ethics

Woke Washing: What Happens When Marketing Communications Don’t Match Corporate Practice

“Brand activism has become the new marketing tactic of choice, and a brand’s stance on societal and political issues can offer a differentiating factor in a fast-paced corporate marketplace. […] However, while consumers expect big brands to take a stand, they may not believe them when they do.”

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McDonald’s Is a Social and Healthcare Burden – Whatever Its Charity PR Might Indicate

“Aside from straight-up marketing and advertising, McDonalds, like other corporations, relies on public relations strategies that are less tangible and take indirect paths into our consciousness. McDonald’s PR positions the company as caring and moral, and as having the same concerns as the community.”

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How Managers Should Respond When Bribes Are Business as Usual

“Why do kickbacks continue? According to my own research into dozens of bribery cases and five years of reporting on four continents, it’s because executives believe that their competitors are using bribery as a tool to get ahead, so they must, too. […] Of course, copying what your competitors do—especially when it is illegal and inefficient – is the opposite of innovative. How can companies kick this habit? After surveying corruption experts and business executives (including one who went to jail for bribery) I identified four strategies.”

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Can Corporations be ‘Good Citizens’?

“The idea of ‘good corporate citizenship’ has become popular recently among business ethicists and corporate leaders. You may have noticed its appearance on corporate websites and CEO speeches. But what does it mean and does it matter? Is it any more than a new species of public relations flimflam to set beside terms like ‘corporate social responsibility’ and the ‘triple bottom line’? Is it just a metaphor?”

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When CEOs Should Speak Up on Polarizing Issues

“CEO activism, the growing trend of top executives speaking out on sensitive social and political issues, has been labeled the “new normal.” But behind the scenes, executives do not feel in control. They are struggling to anticipate and respond to intensifying pressure from the public, investors, and — above all — their employees. There are conflicting views of how CEOs should proceed.”

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Davos in the Desert: Businesses Are Right to Put Principles before Profit and Pull out of Saudi Investment Conference

“In the years to come expect to see more business leaders compelled to take a moral stance, whether it’s about the murder of a foreign dissident, the insensitive behaviour of a sitting president, or the persecution of religious or ethnic minorities. It will be increasingly difficult to avoid. There are two main reasons for this: moral and social.”

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Purpose Driven Companies Are Winners

“Companies that look beyond the bottom line often earn more money and garner greater affinity with customers in the long run. This is the argument that scholar Caterina Bulgarella makes in her September column “Purpose-driven companies evolve faster than others” for Forbes. Purpose-driven companies that frame their goals on the lines of transforming peoples’ lives will not only achieve more sales, but have greater impact on consumers in the long run.”

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Hitching a Ride on Social or Political Movements Can Help Firms Profit, and Change for the Better

“Why would we negatively judge companies that capitalise from human-centered social issues? Companies survive and thrive by capitalising on business opportunities. […] Nike, Puma, Unilever and others who tie their fortunes, short or long-term, to social movements believe they are acting in the best interests of their stakeholders while seizing an opportunity to make their companies better. If a consequence is that society becomes a better place as a result, then that’s OK too.”

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Trust Has to Be as Important as Profit if Banks and Their Boards Are to Regain Their Corporate Legitimacy

“For the past three years I have used confidential, high-level interviews and forums to examine the views of board members (including members of bank boards) in order to understand the tensions and trade-offs they make as they navigate social, environmental and stakeholder concerns.”

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Greenwashing: Corporate Tree Planting Generates Goodwill But May Sometimes Harm the Planet

“While some may argue that tree planting is a win-win for the environment whoever does it, offsetting is just another way of corporate greenwashing. Environmental damage in one place cannot somehow be fixed by repairing habitats elsewhere, sometimes on the other side of the world. Here are some of the ways in which indiscriminate tree planting can cause more harm than good.”

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