The Ethical Mind

Source: Harvard Business Review

If you’re running a large company, don’t expect the public to like you. Soaring executive pay packages, continuing rounds of layoffs, and the memory of ethical failures at firms like Enron, WorldCom, and Hewlett-Packard have raised public animosity toward corporate executives as never before.

A U.S. Roper poll conducted in 2005 revealed that 72% of respondents believed wrongdoing was widespread in industry. Only 2% felt that leaders of large firms were “very trustworthy” (a drop from 3% in 2004), and the pattern is “not improving,” according to Kathy Sheehan, a senior vice president at GFK Roper Consulting in New York. Meanwhile, the public increasingly demands that companies take better care of their employees, communities, and the environment.

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