Saturday, September 29, 2007


“The pace of change at GM has never been faster, and it won’t slow down any time soon. As we launch this annual update of our guidelines for employee conduct, Winning With Integrity, now is a good time for all of us to reflect on things that do not change at GM: our core values”. “Integrity is not optional at GM. We live it every day. It guides our decisions, our work, and our commitment to correct mistakes when we spot them. It guides us whether the company is riding high or battling through tough stretches. Integrity transcends borders and language; it’s all about promoting a culture that demands and supports proper business conduct. Doing the right thing day-in and day-out is essential to our reputation and our success”. 1 -Rick Wagoner, CEO GM

I think Michael Moore would disagree with Rick on this! With the trend to layoff, shutdown and outsource, GM is blatantly disregarding the last two, maybe three generations, who built the foundation of the company. But is it a company’s responsibility to be loyal to its employees, shareholders or profit margins? Or can you integrate all three with integrity? The Body Shop did with a philosophy of profits with principles. Whole Foods believes all levels of employees are an equal part of the company. This holistic approach makes for a stronger community within the company, from the producers or manufacturers, to the environmental impact. Which in turn will lead to sustainable development- that we meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

When workers who have no control over capital investment, product development, design, marketing and advertising decisions shouldn’t suffer because of the failures of these factors. The assembly line took away the well-rounded worker and replaced them with a disposable number. “The destruction of worker skills through mechanization and rigid centralized controls is self defeating, for an ignorant and hostile workforce means production losses as well as high cost for maintenance and direct supervision.”2 But there are some advantages for the disposable number; higher turnover rates are able to introduce new talent, cost savings through resetting salaries and a different demographic mix or a better distribution of age groups.

Corporate Social Responsibility activities seem to be most effective in achieving social or environmental goals when there is a direct link to profits. But that is why companies are started- to make money. Though, It is nice to see some companies, like The Body Shop, who are very successful and have achieved it with integrity and responsibility. Michael Moore captured GM’s intentions for the future of the company and it’s employees beautifully in “Roger & Me” when he is interviewing the rabbit woman. She is holding a cute little bunny, caressing it softly and talking to it sweetly and Moore asks what is to become of this rabbit, She replies, “Oh, this one is my dinner.”

No comments: