Friday, November 30, 2007

Diversity and the Workplace

I can't think of anything more annoying and closed minded then individuals who can not see past race, creed, or religion. I think is especially detrimental for people in a work environment. I don't see how any company can have any tolerance for not accepting diversity.

When I was working as an intern, one of my fellow interns came to me really upset. When I asked her what was wrong she had told me that OUR supervisor and other superordinate were mocking black males and acting like gangsters. Being that my friend was black she felt really upset by their narrow minded behavior and couldn't understand why they would even think that was acceptable behavior. I completely agreed with her and felt awful for her that it had happened in the first place. It was especially hard for her to handle, because she was the ONLY minority that we worked with, everyone else was white.

When this happened I never really thought that this company needs more diversity and understanding. Now after taking this class, I can look at how that company was not diversified enough and obviously did not make an effort to make my friend feel accepted. Even if the actions of our colleagues was only meant to be playful and non-offensive the bottom line is that it was and being our superordinate, they should have known better.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Armstrong Williams

As PR professionals we are taught to abide by the standard codes and ethics of the PRSA. However, when those lines are crossed and the codes are broken taking the right steps are crucial to the face of the organization.

Saving one's face can be handled in more ways then one, the cut throat way in which you call some one else out and eliminate their face or you claim responsibility for your actions and fix the problem. Williams and Ketchum decided that in order to save their faces they needed to own up to their mistakes and find a way to make it right. I think both Williams and Ketchum handled the problem with the No Child Left Behind Campaign with class and expertise. Both admitted to their wrong actions, after all no one is perfect and realizing this is the first step to making things right. I think that the heart felt apologies was the right thing to do. In doing so both Williams and Ketchum were able to show the public we screwed up and we are sorry and to ensure that this will not happen again here is what we plan to do in order to fix our mistakes.

This is a good PR move and more than likely saved the face of both Williams and Ketchum. I don't think this crisis could have been handled any other way that would have been as beneficial to the individuals involved.

Corporate Social Responsibility -- THE WIETA

This article is a huge sigh of relief. You never hear about these better practices in the news, in fact society is usually only informed of the sweat shops and slave drivers that force young children to work long hours and who treat their employees like dirt. The fact that there is an organization that is willing to stand up and put a stop to the injustice deserves applause and recognition. The WIETA, the Wine Industry Ethical Association, is taking a giant leap forward for third world countries who produce wine, particularly Africa.

One can only hope that more people will begin to put this organization's values and beliefs to action and eliminate the unfair/unethical treatment of workers in third-world countries. I think my favorite part about WIETA's standards and rules is that no child under the age of 15 will be forced to work and the children who are able to work choose to do so, and that the industry they work for can not interfere with the child's school schedule. I particularly encourage this rule, because so many children in third-world countries are having to leave school at such a young age and end up not only losing their education but also miss out on their ability to see the world in a different light and take hold of new opportunities that an academic education could provide them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Ethics Behind the A.D.A Choices

First I want to say that this was a tough article to read; I mean where do you really draw the line when you are deciding what is the best way to raise money for a charity that is trying to fight one of America's worst diseases? I firmly believe that raising money for a good cause is always beneficial, however, I do agree that there should be limitations.

I don't think it would have been a wise decision for the A.D.A to sign a sponsorship with Burger King and I was relieved when I saw that it turned the fast-food restaurant down. However, I don't see a problem with a company who is a producer of both high-calorie and low-calorie foods. Let's think about it logically, how many organizations do we really know that don't produce both kinds of foods? There are of course the organic foods, but that is still an up and coming change and not many people have adapted to it. But look at company's like Kellogg, they make excellent healthy food, but not all of it is healthy. For example, they make pop-tarts one of the most high in calorie, fats and sweets breakfast items there is.

Also, I think the A.D.A is taking steps in the right direction. It eliminated a sponsorship with Hershey as well as other companies and it turned down a sponsorship with Burger King. I mean the A.D.A is sacrificing a lot of money because they want to make sure people trust them and make sure that they are being as ethical as possible. To be honest I don't blame the A.D.A for not turning away Cadbury. I mean it brings in the majority of their sponsorship money and as long as it only promotes their healthy food products where is the harm?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Social Networking

To me social networking isn't necessarily a terrible thing. I mean there are some ethical issues that surround it but overall one has to accept that not everyone will agree with you and not everyone will share your morals or ethical beliefs.

For some companies using social networking can be a plus. For example Target achieved success and great reviews when it posted a page on Facebook. College students all over praised the site and really found it helpful. I personally think this was a great move by Target because it helped them to achieve one of their goals, which is to relate to a more trendy and younger community.

However, this is not always the case. For instance Wal-Mart experienced some negative feedback and scrutiny from the public. First of all Wal-Mart is not known for its trendy styles, but for its cheap prices. For many college students posting a page on Facebook is pointless and stupid. Also, Wal-Mart has already been mixed up in a social networking scandal so posting a page on Facebook could appear as another one of their ways to promote their own well-being.

These two cases show us the fine line between when it may be okay to social network and when it may not be okay. For some I think it is just a matter of current reputation and community status.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Glengarry Glenn Ross

After watching Memet's play I walked away feeling a little overwhelmed, probably because I have never heard the "f bomb" dropped so much in two hours in my whole life. But aside from that I couldn't believe all the backstabbing, manipulation and unethical behavior that was going on throughout the whole play.

It is clear to see how Mamet views the ethics of the business world. If I had never known anything about the business world and I never knew anything about ethics and morals in the business world, I think I would have walked away from the play thinking to myself "Is this really how the business world is suppsoed to operate?" I don't personally believe that all organizations are cut throat like this. However, I do believe that some may exist. I also don't think that currently sales people and organizations do not need to be so cut throat. I mean the sales world is competitive, we all know that, but taking it to the extreme that Mamet took is in my opinion a little over the top and outdated.

It is really disturbing to think that there are probably some businesses out there that are really like that. There was nothing but bribery, blackmail, stealing, cheating, etc. I mean you name anything unethical and it was portrayed in this play. I think the only ethical decision that was made by anyone was when the boss turned in the guys who robbed the place, and still he didn't even do it for the right reasons -- he did it cause he didn't like the guys.

I realize that there is competition in the sales industry and keeping the numbers high is what keeps you in the business, but doing it unethically is not the direction you should take. Just take this play as a prime example of everything that is done wrong in sales.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Corporate Apologies and Southwest Airlines

One would think that the rule of thumb when an organization is accused of being unfair or accused of mistreating its consumers that the first response would be to apologize. However, this is not the case with all organizations. In fact some organizations will wait to make any type of apology, even if it is informal. I think this is bad PR. I believe that as an organization you are supposed to consider the client. I mean one must be realistic and think that the client or consumer is not always going to come first, but in the Southwest Airlines case this should have been the issue.

When Southwest Airlines kicked Kyla Ebbert off the plane because of her short mini-skirt there was an immediate uproar. The media was eating this up, saying that Southwest Airlines over reacted and the only reason why Kyla Ebbert was asked to leave the plane was because she was an attractive young woman. Personally, I didn't find her outfit that offensive, I have seen much worse in Wal-Mart. Southwest Airlines didn't even attempt to make an apology especially when Ebbert made it perfectly clear that she was offended and couldn't understand why she was being asked to leave the plane. Intially the airline refused to make an apology to Ebbert, it wasn't until Ebbert appeared on numerous talk shows that Southwest finally decided to make the apology, but they shouldn't have wasted its time.

As quoted from the so called apology the CEO stated "we were caught with our pants down and we were looking for the naked truth..." so where dose the apology come into play. I mean yes the airline apologized, but where was the sincerity? I mean really, if you are going to apologize, don't be smart ass' and do it for the right reasons. If a company is only going to apologize to get the media off its back then don't bother. Finally, this so called apology did nothing but enrage the public even more and it certainly didn't make Ebbert feel any better.