Business Ethics Played Out In The News

In the last few months, there have been a couple of stories in the news related to business ethics that got me wondering if Sun is behaving ethically. One story has involved the apparently widespread practice of backdating stock optinos. The other is the recent HP scandal involving them hiring people to get phone records of private citizens under false pretenses. This HP thing is getting nastier the more I learn about its details. Not to defend HP, but I could easily believe that HP is not unique here. Still, it's bad business ethics, and I suspect HP will be penalized for this incident somehow, whether by the SEC or the market.

But on the stock options backdating issue, I saw some nice news about Sun. I had been watching the news to see if Sun has ever been mentioned as one of the companies that practiced backdating, and hadn't seen anything. Then I saw this news story today, entitled Sun Microsystems Shines With Stock Options Disclosure. It pretty much says that Sun has been completely above board about how it handles options pricing. The quote at the end of the article says it all: any additional disclosure — particularly from a company that hasn’t been caught — is welcome and is certainly worthy of a rare footnoted.org gold star.

My belief (and hope) is that, over the long run, doing the right thing gets rewarded. I feel pretty good working for a company that doesn't have these pesky legal issues to worry about. I don't have to be ashamed of the company for which I work, and in my book, that's a pretty big deal.

Comments:

I addressed this very same issue on my site, Latakia's Socially Responsible Business Forum. The HP saga is upsetting on two levels. First, it points to the lengths some will go to in an organization to maintain the upper hand. If these leaders spent as much time improving the organization and not protecting their fiefdoms, everyone would be better off. More importantly, it's troubling that board members who speak freely with the press are seen as enemies of the organization. To divulge sensitive info is one thing, but keeping shareholders in the loop does not fall into this category.

Posted by John Schneider on September 26, 2006 at 12:30 PM PDT #

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. What more do you need to know, really?

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