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20-Nov-2019 Ethics News - November 20, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

PG&E’s Response to Its Role in Paradise’s Camp Fire (from NPR)

This Q&A provides Pacific Gas & Electric's response to questions about its culpability in last year's devastating "Paradise Camp Fire" in California.

JP Morgan’s new policy chief says 10% of 2018 hires at the bank had criminal records (from CNBC)

This article discusses the intent and outcome of JP Morgan's progressive new hiring policy.

Bosses who think only about the bottom line may invite unethical behavior (from

This article discusses new research suggesting that different employees react quite differently in response to a "profits-above-all" mentality in their boss. This article discusses an interesting development in the automotive industry, at the intersection of ethics, constitutional law, and sustainability.

16-Oct-2019 Ethics News - October 16, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

"145 businesses signed the gun control letter — but many more didn't" (By Ben Popken for NBC News)

This one is about whether, and when, it is safe for a company to speak out on social issues.

"Is the Polaris RZR the New ‘Ford Pinto’?" (by Ethics Centre board member Chris MacDonald, for the Business Ethics Blog)

The Polaris RZR is an off-road recreational vehicle prone to catching fire. This case harkens back to the Ford Pinto, a subcompact car that faced similar issues back in the early 1970s.

"Boeing 737 Max Safety System Was Vetoed, Engineer Says" (NY Times) This one is about how Boeing ignored an internal ethics complaint filed by a senior engineer about corners that had been cut on safety -- corner-cutting that ultimately resulted in two planes crashing, and hundreds of deaths.

"Amazon Pushes Fast Shipping but Avoids Responsibility for the Human Cost" (NY Times) This longer read from the NY Times explains the complex system that Amazon uses to deliver billions of packages a year -- a system that has also proven effective in insulating the company for responsibility when delivery drivers cause injury or death.

06-Sep-2019 Ethics News - September 6, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

For Young Female Coders, Internship Interviews Can Be Toxic (from Wired)

The Highly-Organized World of Professional Plagiarism (via Business Ethics Highlights)

If Business Roundtable CEOs are serious about reform, here’s what they should do (from the Washington Post)

Bonus item:
How to be in informed and prepared director (from the Institute of Corporate Directors, featuring quotes from Ethics Centre board member, Chris MacDonald)

04-Jul-2019 Ethics News - July 4, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

“Skills for future finance leaders: ethics take centre stage.” This piece from the Financial Times discusses the range of strategies employed by business schools to give students the skills to handle ethical challenges in the workplace.

“Walmart Bribery and the Importance of Anti-Bribery Management Systems.” This piece from Business Ethics Highlights is a reminder that ethics isn’t just a matter of behaviour — it’s a matter of actively putting systems in place to encourage the right behaviours and discourage the wrong ones.

“Employees Don’t Feel Comfortable Speaking Out.” This piece from Yahoo! Finance reports on a study conducted with ethics & compliance professionals. Interesting results include: “60% say employees are uncomfortable speaking out about ethical issues during meetings” and “only 49% say their companies’ senior leaders take action against compliance failures”

“Nike shares slide as Arizona's governor blocks factory incentives after Kaepernick-fueled sneaker controversy.” This piece from Business Insider discusses the latest in the politicization of corporate ethics. Read and ask yourself: Should politicians be telling people what to buy? Should companies be taking sides in ethical and political debates?

03-Jun-2019 Ethics News - June 3, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

From Harvard Business Review: "5 Signs That Your Family Business Might Have an Ethics Problem"

This story outlines both the ways in which family-owned businesses are well-placed to resist the temptation to put profit over values, and the signs that your family business "is in jeopardy of heading down the wrong path."

From Forbes: "Can Ethics Bots Help Companies Forge Useful Codes of Conduct?"

This story discusses how Accenture uses digital technology both to help employees sort through ethical challenges and to gather information that will allow the company to formulate better ethical guidance in the future.

From the Financial Times: "Julian Richer insists ethical capitalism is key to business success"

This story is about how audio retail entrepreneur Julian Richer has made employees the centre of his system of business ethics -- including his decision to sell his company to an employee-owned trust.

01-May-2019 Ethics News - May 1, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

"Experts say 'predatory' essay writing firms are thriving, and there's no law to stop them" This CBC piece goes undercover in the dark world of custom essay writing, and interviews professors and academic integrity specialists at Ryerson about the result.

"Why Not Appoint an Algorithm to Your Corporate Board?", from Slate. Given the huge information-processing demands on corporate boards, it's not surprising that some are talking about increased use of algorithms. This piece doesn't mention the word, "ethics," but it's shot through with ethical issues.

"Fashion, Intellectual Property, and David vs Goliath" (on This piece explores the difficult legal terrain faced by small companies in the fashion industry, when faced with clearly unethical behaviour by bigger companies.

01-Apr-2019 Ethics News – April 1, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

"What’s so bad about bribery?" This piece from the Globe & Mail is by UofT philosopher Mark Kingwell explores the ethics of bribery, and asks what differentiates high-level bribery in international business from more mundane forms of influence used in everyday life.

"Companies that want to be sustainable have to start with acting ethically" In this piece, David Grayson, chair of the Institute of Business Ethics, considers the relationship between ethical behaviour and sustainability, and the way both are bound up with corporate culture.

"Seven Key Competencies To Develop Future Leaders" In this article, Organizational Development Consultant Ann Holland outlines the key competencies of great leaders. #2 is integrity, but several of them are actually about ethics, one way or the other.

"Stores Selling Less — On Purpose" This short piece from Business Ethics Highlights asks whether companies ever have the obligation to try to sell less of a given product.

01-Mar-2019 Ethics News March 1, 2019 A recent roundup of commentary on ethical issues currently affecting organizations.

"Microsoft workers’ letter demands company drop Army HoloLens contract". Here's yet another interesting piece in what seems to be a trend: tech workers objecting on ethical grounds to the work their company does.

"Jeffrey Skilling, Former Enron Chief, Released After 12 Years in Prison". After serving 12 years of a 24-year sentence, one of the most infamous names in the history of business ethics is back on the street.

"Uber Gender Earnings Gap: Discrimination or Not?" This commentary (at is about an academic study showing that women who drive for Uber earn 7% less, on average. Analysis shows several reasons, none of them having to do with discrimination. The question: what, if anything, to do about it.

"Climate change: 'Right to repair' gathers force". This story pits environmental concerns against intellectual property rights. Should it be easier for consumers to fix appliances, even if that means manufacturers have to give up control?

01-Feb-2019 Ethics News February 1 2019 Featured Articles Include:

"Six Dangerous Excuses To Compromise That Could Land You In Prison," by Ron Carucci for Forbes

It's well-established by criminologists that a lot of wrongdoing results from people giving themselves permission to use various rationalizations. This Forbes piece gives some nice examples.

"The Parable of Bernie Madoff" by David P Weber for The Hill This piece is about what an American professor of business ethics learned from his correspondence with Bernie Madoff.

"I Mentored Mark Zuckerberg. I Loved Facebook. But I Can't Stay Silent About What's Happening." by Roger McNamee for Time

This article is adapted from the book by Roger McNamee's, the veteran Silicon Valley investor. McNamee was a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, and an early promoter of Facebook, but now worries that the firm, and its leadership, has gone badly astray ethically.

07-Jan-2019 Ethics News January 7 2019 Featured Articles include:

This month's first article is from It's about ethics in technology -- which not surprisingly ends up overlapping a lot with the ethics of business.The article is called "Experts Reveal Their Tech Ethics Wishes For The New Year.

Our second item is based on a survey by the Global Ethics & Compliance Initiative. It's called "Stealing, lying, cheating, bullying — people miserable at work do unethical things".

And as is so often the case we can begin the New Year by looking back, via these two "Top 10" lists:

The first is from the University of Bath, and is called "Top 10 Responsible Business Stories: 2018"

The second is from the editors of Business Ethics Highlights: "Top 10 Business Ethics Stories of 2018".

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