Where Do Ethics Fit?

As a longtime supporter of Microsoft and a believer in and advocate of its products, I have often been confronted by others about the evils of Microsoft, ranging from how historically Microsoft has bullied or bought out competitors to how expensive and flawed their products are.

The products that Microsoft releases are now considered some of the most solid in the world of IT, both with regard to stability and security.  There will always be ‘haters’ who would rather discuss Windows 98 and Vista to XP and 7, but they are traditionally ‘religionists’ who could not be convinced either way.

With regard to the ‘Evil’ moniker, not according to the experts.  For the second year in a row, Microsoft was named to the Ethisphere Institute’s list of 2012’s World’s Most Ethical Companies.  It is an honour that the competition – Google (whose mantra is DO NO EVIL) and Apple (who has never made any such claim) can boast.

The Ethisphere Institute is a think tank that was formed to monitor ethical (and unethical) behaviours in corporations, and began publishing their list in 2007.  Corporations can submit their names for consideration, and this year nearly five thousand companies from over 100 countries were submitted (across 36 industries) did just that.

We live in a world where the almighty dollar was once king, but in order to earn those dollars corporations  rely on the patronage and opinions of people.  In the era of blogs (ahem…), Twitter, and other social media outlets where it is easy to share opinions with anyone who will listen it is crucial to have a good public image; notice the increasing number of corporations who constantly monitor the Twitterverse for potentially unsatisfied clients and see how fast they jump into action to right their wrongs.  The socially conscious activists who once had to print and distribute flyers, get onto soap boxes, and convince the handful of people who showed up about their cause can now reach millions more people on-line, without ever leaving their homes..

The world today has a conscience, and that is a good thing.  For the most part people would rather see others (and by extension corporations) do good than bad, or even than doing nothing.  Witness this week-end, Toronto: A playground that was built by volunteers was burned to the ground, and the Canadian Tire corporation pledged $50,000 toward rebuilding it… on a Sunday.

Some people know the story of when my loyalty to Microsoft began… I will not go into the details, but when I wrote to Microsoft Canada (who owed me nothing in this affair) they made things right… and I have never forgotten that.  I have always been glad to be associated with them, and that is one of the reasons that when they ask me to extend that community outreach – such as doing user group events and so on – I step up every time.

I know that employees at Microsoft are given the chance, if they wish, to take a week off of work every year to donate to working for the charity of their choice.  This is an amazing offer, and a policy that every company in the world should adopt.  Yet I didn’t hear about this because they advertise it… I only know about it because a friend of mine told me that he was taking a week off of work to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, and he explained the program to me.  I was so proud of him, and of Microsoft.

When I read the story of this list earlier today (c/o Twitter, on www.Minyanville.com) it reaffirmed in my mind and heart that I picked a great company to ally myself with… They help me all the time, sure… and I help them.  However for them to be recognized as having a corporate conscience and a tradition not only of excellence but of ethics I am really and truly glad that I work with them.

There are seven other corporations under ‘Computer: Hardware/Software’ that are recognized on this list, and they are (alphabetically):

  • Adobe Systems
  • Hitachi Data Systems
  • Intel Corporation
  • Salesforce.com
  • Symantec Corporation
  • Teradata Corporations
  • Wipro Ltd.

These companies should all be proud of this… not today, but year round.  The companies who did not make the list should take a page from these companies, and rather than trying to outdo them, they should all strive toward a world where we do not need lists like these because all companies are ethical and charitable.

In the meantime… Thank you to every company on the list!

2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies

Original Source:http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/aapl-msft-sbux-ge-pep-tgt/3/16/2012/id/39943#ixzz1pa926S28


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