2001 Volume 4 Issue 4

Editor’s Note: Corporate Citizenship in the Wake of September 11!

Editor’s Note: Corporate Citizenship in the Wake of September 11!

Moving forward together

As a nation we must continue to recover from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. As part of this recovery, those of us in the private sector must reflect on our values and consider our responsibilities as business leaders.

Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD

This situation challenges our basic assumptions about others and ourselves. It compels us to consider what fundamental values we should emphasize. It also makes us think about what new values might ascend or descend in our priorities as a consequence of our new experiences.

We should explore our current emphasis on individualism and economic rationalism versus community, and consider how we will weigh nationalism versus globalism. Some of these values have already been expressed in terms of corporate response to the crisis. Some firms capitalized on the opportunity, either through using patriotic advertisements to sell their products or by exploiting niche markets fed by public fear. Others, however, have responded with grace and responsibility.

Cisco, AOL-Time Warner, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon.com and Microsoft have partnered together to create The American Liberty Partnership, a one-stop web site for making donations to charities. This site alone had collected over $102,744,167 in donations by 8 October 2001. Online fundraising, once thought virtually extinct, has been the number one source of relief funds in the wake of the tragedy.

This experience is also causing us to carefully consider the ethical/unethical use of telecommunications and the web. In fact, telecommunications and web-based communication played a critical role during the crisis. Cell phones enabled survivors to be found and for loved-ones to locate each other on September 11. The web continues to play a role in the information war, with the websites of terrorist organizations such as Hamas being a source of rumor and propaganda that is often repeated on television. There is even speculation that Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda global terrorist network communicates via the web. Some speculate that they are even using the web-cast of Osama bin Laden’s response to the attacks – which was edited for television but broadcast in its entirety over the web – as a ‘coded’ message to these cells. This is forcing media and even Internet service providers and other businesses to carefully consider issues related to freedom of speech and access.

As American-style capitalism has been challenged, firms must examine issues of responsibility, citizenship, and ethics in ways we have not previously considered. Furthermore, these values must be examined both within the organization and outside the organization. This brings into focus the idea of corporate citizenship. Every organization is part of a social, economic and environmental community. Organizations such as the Center for Corporate Citizenship offer insight into corporate responsibility and tips for dealing with this crisis. There are other research centers exploring this important topic, but business leaders must consider for themselves how they have grown and what their priorities should be in this recovery period.

This issue of the GBR addresses the fundamental challenges we now face as business practitioners from a variety of angles. First, we invite you to join our roundtable discussion on the business impacts of the September 11 events. This roundtable discussion, involving faculty from the Graziadio School, considers critical issues related to both values and individual disciplines in the wake of the attack.

Also join our conversation with Michael Josephson, one of the nation’s leading ethicists, as he talks about the role of values and ethics in the workplace and considers whether the events of September 11 are likely to make us a better people or bring out less-desirable attributes. Linnea McCord and John Richardson introduce us to the darker side of the workplace in their article on workplace bullying. To test what you have learned regarding ethics and bullying, don’t forget to take the quiz which explores these topics.

In the wake of the September tragedy, many firms have had to drastically downsize. Sy Siegel explains how the knowledge that terminated employees take with them can erode competitive advantage. Lindsley Boiney explores team dynamics and gender. Her article shows that diversity positively effects team performance and suggests ways in which managers can utilize teams more effectively.

Supreme Court decisions have tremendous implications for business practitioners. Larry Bumgardner explains how upcoming court cases regarding the American Disabilities Act, Property Rights, Intellectual Property and HMOs may have an impact on your firm and the way you do business.

Bob Namvar presents a model which highlights indicators of the current downturn in the last few quarters of the year 2000. This article provides insight into early warning signals.

Finally, we invite you to visit a new feature in EBIZ@GBR – Management and the Internet – where Professor Chuck Morrissey offers links to the some of the best online resources for those venturing into e-commerce.

And, of course, there’s always the LOOP. This issue, your Loopmaster takes an edgy view of sustainable development.

To some extent, we are all in a period of growth and change. Learning resources are increasingly important. We hope you will find inspiration and insight in this issue.

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Author of the article
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD, is an associate professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. In 2004, Dr. Griffy-Brown received a research award from the International Association for the Management of Technology and was recognized as one of the most active and prolific researchers in the fields of technology management and innovation. A former researcher at the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development in Tokyo, she has also served as an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffy-Brown graduated from Harvard University, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and holds a PhD in technology management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and has taught innovation/technology management courses in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. She has also served as a consultant for the United Nation’s Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.
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