Tag: culture

Perils of a Broken Corporate Culture #online #business #degree

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Ethics & Compliance Matters

Reputation Damage and Tone at the Top: Uber Scandal Underscores How Corporate Culture can Bring a Company to its Knees

Reputation Damage and Tone at the Top: Uber Scandal Underscores How Corporate Culture can Bring a Company to its Knees

Uber has had its share of public relations problems lately, and is now known as yet another company having to deal with current business ethics issues. From the taxi-alternative start-up’s drivers claiming they don’t make nearly as much money as they originally promised to none-the-wiser customers getting stuck with hefty price surges at the ends of rides. As if this weren’t enough to land Uber an F rating from the Better Business Bureau (in fact, this and a few other Uber business practices were), Senior Vice President Emil Michael’s comments at a recent dinner have pushed this company into a full-on PR disaster.

Creating Culture One (Wrong) Word at a Time

The nutshell: At a dinner attended by a Buzzfeed reporter, Michael suggested Uber would embark on a smear campaign against journalists who criticized the company. In this conversation, Michael said Uber could spend millions of dollars to hire investigators to dig into the journalists’ personal data and use the information they found about their critics to threaten and/or publicly embarrass them. Although Michael claims he thought the conversation was off the record, according to the Buzzfeed reporter, it wasn’t. And he ran with the story .

Not surprisingly, a media storm ensued, leaving Uber CEO Travis Kalanick no other choice but to respond. But Kalanick’s “apology” appeared less than sincere. Rather than fire Michael for insinuating Uber would engage in such unethical business practices, he posted 14 tweets on his personal Twitter account, essentially saying his senior executive’s comments were “terrible.” Uber’s latest situation clearly speaks to what some see as the end of the old tech genre that was focused on changing the world and the move to self-enrichment.

Textbook Case for the Need for Strong “Tone at the Top”

It’s safe to say that Uber is in hot PR water, and it may be very difficult for the company to climb out. Why is that? Because the laundry list of reputation-damaging unethical business practices at Uber has experienced in the past several months may be indicative of a deeper, more critical issue: poor tone at the top, a broken organizational culture and possibly bad business ethics.

What do we mean when we talk about tone from the top? A successful ethics and compliance program must be built on a solid foundation of business ethics that are fully and openly endorsed by senior management. Otherwise, the program may amount to little more than a hollow set of internal rules and regulations. There should be an unambiguous, visible and active commitment to compliance.

For start-ups and some companies in the tech sector, culture-related wrongdoing isn’t new. In fact, it was a journalist’s report against Uber for what she believed were unethical business practices that prompted Michael’s comments at that dinner. Rather than take steps to investigate or address the bad behavior it was being accused of, Uber resorted to threats against the reporter and other critics of the company. This response underscores how problematic its culture seems to be.

A Broken Corporate Culture Will Come Back to Bite You—and Not Just Through Bad Press

While Uber may think this issue will disappear with time, it won’t. If there is an underlying issue with the company’s culture, or if it is truly one of the many companies with ethical issues, it will rear its head again in the future—it’s only a matter of time.

The same may be true for other companies in the tech space if The Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims ‘ concerns play out. In his recent article, “Uber and a Fraught New Era for Tech ” he writes, “The emphasis of the tech companies being built now is much more zero-sum. Whom do we need to destroy in an effort to enrich ourselves and our investors, and what is the best vehicle for creating a consumer need that will facilitate that quest?”

Uber is at a critical crossroads and their next steps could ultimately determine their long-term success. If the company doesn’t take the time needed now to establish a strong culture. it runs the risk of losing key partnerships, employees and drivers, and so much more.

If they are nurturing an environment that prohibits or discourages employees or others from speaking up, business risks alone (i.e. safety, etc.) could significantly hamper this thriving, innovative organization.

If that happens, we all lose.





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Boston Business Journal: The importance of workplace culture #business #from #home

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The importance of workplace culture

​The importance of workplace culture

An employer’s perspective, as shared by William K. Bacic. New England managing partner, Deloitte LLP

It’s no secret that workplace culture has become one of 2016’s hottest topics for business leaders. Research shows that workplace culture drives not only behavior, but also plays a major role in innovation, and customer service. In terms of specific numbers, 82 percent of the respondents to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 survey believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage for employers. Equipped with that knowledge, it is nearly impossible to overstate culture’s importance, especially when thinking about not only recruiting and retaining talent, but also in meeting business goals.

Knowing just how crucial of a role culture plays, we, as business leaders, should consider doing all that we can to help foster a culture where professionals thrive. A step in the right direction may require that business leaders recognize the importance of culture, and give it the attention and investment it deserves. Executives should consider working with HR to help take responsibility for culture, and support it through both a measurement process and infrastructure.

However, that challenge, like many others, is often easier said than done. To start, we leaders should visibly prioritize culture in our organizations. That means clearly understanding the values of our companies, and how they affect business strategy. We should help shape the company’s value and make sure that we are leading by example, and reinforcing the desired culture. For example, at Deloitte, we are committed to making an impact that matters in the communities where we live and work. I enjoy taking an active role in my community, whether that is serving on nonprofit boards, hosting events in our office, or volunteering.

As executives, we should also consider examining the current culture at our organization, and determining whether or not that is the culture we desire.

That means taking a close look at our organizations and not only identifying those practices that align with the desired goals, but also taking note of practices that may require some change.

From there, it is up to leaders to help ensure this new culture becomes permanent. We should serve as an example of the new culture, and become cultural ambassadors for our organizations. Whether that means volunteering in your free time, avoiding email on weekends, or remaining offline while on vacation, leaders should consider embodying the culture of the workplace.

I encourage you to embrace the culture challenge, and own it at the highest level. Our actions tend to drive culture, just as they do other issues that reinforce business strategy. For more information on workplace culture, including tools for measurement, take a look at Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report .

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