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Archive for the ‘Business Ethics’ Category

“Domestic Violence: Your Coworker’s Dark Secret” is a Fortune online article that blew my mind.  First, I was surprised to see that someone in the established media was willing to take on the subject; Second, it’s a well-written, well-researched, and heart-rending article that captivated my attention.  From the article:

Now a small but growing group of CEOs is saying that it’s time for corporate America to confront the issue head-on. Domestic violence affects the bottom line, they say. It threatens workplace safety. As an HR issue, it’s much more volatile and potentially dangerous than drug addiction or alcoholism.

“I’d like to see more done about this,” says Thomas J. Wilson, CEO of Allstate, one of the CEOs who sees it as a major issue affecting employees, customers, or both. At Verizon Wireless, which handled about 100 abuse cases internally in the past year and roughly 225 more through its employee-assistance programs, “the numbers speak for themselves,” says Martha Delehanty, vice president of human resources. “This is an issue we must address.”

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In a study of three large companies spanning 39 states, 10% of workers who responded to survey questions said, “Right now I am going through this,” says Anne O’Leary-Kelly, a management professor who conducted the study.

The article gives stark portrayals of the women who have faced spousal abuse, and seen it spill over into their work lives.  More heartening, however, are the workplaces that have taken the initiative and responded to this blatant disrespect for human lives with an outpouring of support for the abused.

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Fortune online has two new “10 Most” lists: “10 Most ‘Accountable’ Big Companies” and “10 New Gurus You Should Know.” What I found interesting was that the first guru, BJ Fogg, whose big idea is that “mobile technology will be the most powerful way to influence consumers in the next 15 years” while the first most accountable company was Vodafone–coincodence?

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I’ve been able to catch up on my blogs today, and wanted to put together some interesting, if topically disparate, posts that I came across:

Web 2.0 applications are coming, going, and denting companies’ reputations. See “Losing Face,” about how British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were dinged by their employee’s posts on Facebook, and then read about how blogging is going (has gone) mainstream in “Oh, Grow Up” from the Economist.

Businessweek‘s Management IQ blog has a post titled “The Gender Pay Gap: Still Alive at the Top, Too” where they quote a recent report saying that women execs make 85% of their male counterparts.

Research from Cornell about the 40-hour workweek was recently released: “Forty Hours Doesn’t Work for Everyone: Examining Employee Preferences for Work Hours”. From the summary:

Current economic conditions have caused many employers to reduce employees’ work hours—a trend that will likely continue if the economy worsens. Yet research on work hours is limited, as most studies in this area have focused on the effects of employees’ working in excess of a 40-hour work week. This report seeks to specifically examine the effect of “hours mismatch,” which is defined as the mismatch between the number of hours the employee desires to work and the actual number of hours worked. Based on a study of 1,032 individuals, the results show that hours mismatch is an important predictor of attitudinal outcomes, including life satisfaction, work-family conflict, job stress, and intent to turn over.

In other news, we have a new president! Merchandise, sporting Obama’s portrait, has been big business, but apparently a nanoscale portrait of our 44th president has been created as well. If you want to learn more about what’s going on during the presidential transition, then go to change.gov, the first-ever American presidential transition website. If you’d like a little sordid history about the 2008 Presidential Campaign, head over to Newsweek, where they’re doing a seven-part series on “Secrets of the 2008 Campaign”. Read all about how both McCain and Obama’s computer networks were hacked, and what you get for a $150,000 shopping spree.

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BailoutSleuth is a new journalistic blog that’s keeping track of the shady dealings behind the Wall Street bailout package, by investigating how the money is doled out and who is compensated by the deal.  It’s pretty disturbing how this supposedly transparent process is already being circumvented, as portions of publicly-released documents are being blacked out so the public doesn’t know how much government-hired contractors from the private sector are paid.

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The Migration Policy Institute released “Uneven Progress: The Employment Pathways of Skilled Immigrants in the United States”, a report that states 1 in 5 college-educated immigrants in the US labor market are stuck in unskilled jobs or, worse, are unemployed.  From the press release:

The report, Uneven Progress: The Employment Pathways of Skilled Immigrants in the United States¸ for the first time quantifies the scope of the ‘brain waste’ problem that affects 22 percent of the 6.1 million immigrants with a bachelor’s degree or higher who are in the U.S. labor market. The report analyzes and offers possible solutions for the credentialing and language-barrier hurdles that deprive the U.S. economy of a rich source of human capital at a time of increasing competition globally for skilled talent.

Said report co-author Jeanne Batalova, an MPI policy analyst: “During a period of rising unemployment and economic difficulties, it’s important to think ahead and make clear that allowing college-educated immigrants already in the United States to achieve greater career potential can increase U.S. productivity and competitiveness. Numerous studies have shown that highly skilled immigrants contribute to the economy through innovation and entrepreneurship, and pay more in taxes than they take out in services. Maximizing the use of their human capital can be an engine for job creation.”

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Working Mother released its list of the 100 Best Companies for–what else?–working mothers.  The editors looked at seven areas:

workforce profile, compensation, child care, flexibility, time off and leaves, family-friendly programs and company culture.

For this year’s 100 Best, we gave particular weight to family-friendly programs, flexibility, leave policies and benefits for part-timers.

Accompanying the list is a set of great articles:  “Weathering the Storm,” about how companies are working to retain family-friendly benefits; “Stop the Clock,” on part-time working moms; and “Good for the Gander,” an article about fathers taking advantage of paternity leave.

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The Economist has an interesting and fun-to-read article about the entrepreneurial-promotion efforts of Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul and philanthropist.  My favorite part is the description of an upcoming event hosted by his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network:

It has recently taken up the challenge of promoting financial literacy to the young hip-hop fans who attend its events. Mr Simmons describes this as “a bunch of rappers and Suze Orman” (a popular financial adviser), with stars such as Doug E. Fresh literally leading fans page by page through a financial-literacy textbook.

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