Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hewlett-Packard and ethics--an incompatible pairing?

You may or may not have heard about the Hewlett-Packard's snoop-fest on board members, employees and reporters. It's already cost the Chairman of the Board, Patricia Dunn, her job (although not her seat on the board). Apparently, it doesn't stop there--there's now evidence that the rot goes all the way to the top--CEO and acting Chairman of the Board Mark Hurd may have known of and approved these actions.

Now for HP, here's where life is going to get interesting. If the reports are true, they have engaged in actions that are illegal under a number of federal laws. They already have the California Attorney General on their case, and now there may be a few Federal prosecutors as well. Expect more ugly news from this.

Corporate America seems to have lost it's moral compass. Arthur Anderson, Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom--the list of corporate transgressions is long and august.
I for one am sick and tired of this nonsense. Your shareholders and your customers deserve better. As citizens of the country that grants your corporation the fictional personhood that allow it to exist in the first place, we should demand better.

I'm not one to blog on my work. Let's just say I do IT (Information Technology) work in a small-to-medium business, and that I get to make many of the technology buying decisions. I've got 6 HP servers that power our IT infrastructure. There are HP printers and desktops scattered throughout the organization. A new HP server just arrived yesterday.

I won't be buying any more. Got that, Hewlett-Packard? No more sales to me. As these pieces of hardware need to be replaced, your competitors will get the business. And they'll keep on getting it until you get your house in order. I don't do business with people or companies I don't respect.

I understand that losing my little bit of business won't really hurt you at all. But I'd like my fellow IT workers to consider doing the same. Do you really care to do business with a company that is so morally poverty-stricken? If they treat their employees and reporters like this, how do you think they'll treat you as a customer?

Shareholders, do you really want to be a part, even a small part, of an organization where the top management feels free to make such decisions?

If enough people stop buying their products, and tell them so, an impact will be made. If enough people decide to sell their HP stock, a message will be sent.

Corporate America, your own greed, arrogance and stupidity have brought on us the legal evils of HIPPA and Sarbanes-Oxley, just to name two. Your continued malfeasance will bring yet more governmental meddling in the marketplace.

You need to stop this kind of behavior and behave yourselves--or your customers and shareholders are going to start spanking you.

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