The “BlackBerry Riots” — What Should RIM Do? (via The Business Ethics Blog)

We have learned that Chris MacDonald quickly analyzes current events for ethical issues and can be counted on to get a post up in a day or less. This is one of those.

Chris MacDonald

My favorite paragraph is this one –

The question is complicated by questions of precedence. Tech companies have come under fire for assisting governments in, for example, China, to crack down on dissidents. Of course, the UK government isn’t anything like China’s repressive regime. But at least some people are pointing to underlying social unrest, unemployment etc., in the UK as part of the reason — if not justification — for the riots. And besides, even if it’s clear that the UK riots are unjustifiable and that the UK government is a decent one, companies like RIM are global companies, engaged in a whole spectrum of social and political settings, ones that will stubbornly refuse to be categorized. Should a tech company help a repressive regime stifle peaceful protest? No. Should a tech company help a good and just government fight crime? Yes. But with regard to governments, as with regard to social unrest, there’s much more grey in the world than black and white.

We’re going to come across this issue again and again. Modern social unrest, justified, unjustified or simply beyond our understanding, is now also a product of social networking. As these machines gain complexity and power, so will the possibilities of social action. We are entering a new world in which a protest or similar action can be organized in very short chunks of times. Flyers and bullhorns are as obsolete as Egyptian hieroglyphs in this new climate of computer assisted unrest.

James Pilant

The intersection of social media with social unrest is a massive topic these days. Twitter has been credited with playing an important role in coordinating the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, and Facebook played a role in helping police track down culprits after the Vancouver hockey riots. But the mostly-unstated truth behind these “technologies of the people” is that they are corporate technologies, ones developed, fostered, and controlled by c … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog

Organisations as Corporate Citizens (via Johan’s Lean Leadership Blog)

Mini-governments, privately run and profit motivated, may not be the best way to organize a society. There are too many competing motives for the public good to be first. In fact, for a profit seeking organization public good may mean a diminishment of profit.

After all, isn’t the modern idea of salesmanship the creation of needs followed by the necessity of purchase to solve the created problem?

I like the ideas here.

James Pilant

Organisations as Corporate Citizens Who can it be now?Who is staring back at me?If Corporate citizens step in to fulfill Government’s role (facilitate civil, social and political rights) what happens when it no longer serves their self-interest and the activities lose their appeal due to a below-average return of social investment? Is there any real immediate sanction to prevent this de-vestment from occurring apart from consumer activism? Is it strong enough to prevent corporation … Read More

via Johan’s Lean Leadership Blog

A Scary Thought (via kevinwutd)

This guy has it exactly right.

This is what is at stake in the struggle for net neutrality – Corporate profit or General access.

James Pilant

I recently watched a video on net neutrality and it scared me. The idea that major corporations may be able to control what we do with the internet is devastating to even think about. I love money, and I love power, but I think that if the cost for those things was to ruin the internet I would have to be content with having little. The internet has been the platform for so many different ideas that have shaped how we live today. It is also a ve … Read More

via kevinwutd

The McGowan Blog on Business Leadership and Ethics – Brand New Business Ethics Blog!

I want to extend a warm welcome to Larry Kahaner and his new blog. I have been reading it and I recommend you do so as well. I added it to my favorites and my blog roll. I believe that would make it the 12th blog I have recommended in that manner.

This is the intro for the first post on The McGowan Blog on Business Leadership and Ethics.

Larry Kahaner

This is the first of a twice-weekly blog on business leadership and ethics hosted by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. We will discuss current issues, ask questions, offer opinions and solicit your comments with the goal of spurring conversations among the business, government and academic communities.  The subject of whistleblowers has been a controversial topic lately, so let’s begin.

There are now three posts as follows:

Feb. 27 –

Is Whistleblowing  the Only Way to Spur Ethical Behavior?
( First Line) As a society, we Americans love whistleblowers. They are our folk heroes, our Davids versus Goliaths.

March 2 –  

Are B-Schools Teaching the Right Lessons About Ethics?After the Enron scandal and again after the Worldcom debacle, B-schools juiced up their ethics courses partly out of guilt, partly to deflect public and government criticism and partly because these scandals offered a perfect time for professors to sell ethics curricula to school leadership. We’re seeing the same thing now. Don’t get me wrong; I applaud any effort to increase ethics training – and I’m not so cynical to say that it won’t work this time – but have  previous attempts worked as well as we had hoped?

March 8 –
In light of these massive changes, what is the role that multinational U.S. business should play in American society considering that their main interests are moving offshore? Indeed, the U.S consumer and the U.S. government have all helped produce world-class, profitable and innovative American companies. What, if anything, do these companies owe the U.S. government and its people for making them the global giants that they are today?
 Here is a brief biographical sketch from the blog –
Larry Kahaner has been a business journalist for more than 20 years, a former Business Week Washington correspondent, and the author of many books about business ethics including: Values Prosperity and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis; Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top; and Say It and Live It; The 50 Corporate Mission Statements that  Hit  the Mark, (co-author). You can reach him at:

The Gulf Spill Lesson!

Don’t give the fox the keys to the henhouse. Government oversight was spotty, at best, and that led to a situation where BP was allowed to override the good judgment of its own engineers. Enforce the rules we’ve enacted to protect our people and our planet.

This is a quote from Shel Horowitz at his web site, Principled Profit. He has a list of six gulf spill lessons. I like this one.