The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today’s Business

The suddenly hot topic of corporate governance is further deepened in this title, a collection of columns on business ethics first published in The New York Times. The broad categories tackled here include corporate ethics, policies, hiring, bosses, privacy, “lying, cheating, and stealing,” and leading by example. The strength in this collection is the real-word examples, bolstered by interviews with people involved in an issue or in a good position to comment on it. For example, in a Leading by Example piece, the author, Jeffrey Seglin, explores a newspaper advertisement taken out by The Colonial Pipeline Co., in which the firm apologized publicly for an oil spill. Seglin not only interviewed a company representative, but also two academics, the Government’s lead counsel on the case, a Ben & Jerry’s director, and, finally, a skeptical environmental activist. That’s a lot of legwork for an under-1,000 word piece-but the different perspectives help illuminate the issues much more brightly. [HBS Working Knowledge Annotation]

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