Category Archives: Culture

Making a list and checking it twice

So, you have a baby coming.  You establish a baby registry online, and list the items/gifts you want to receive.  And then the host of the registry accepts payments from vendors of baby products to add certain items to “your” list.

Is nothing sacred?

“New Parents Complain Amazon Baby-Registry Ads Are Deceptive,” The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2018 (online).  Amazon accepts money from major companies to put “sponsored ads” on your list; there’s a small gray box saying “Sponsored.”  Nothing descriptive like, “Similar to things the mother-to-be actually wants.”

I guess you have to check to make sure that you check “your” list at least twice, to make sure that Amazon hasn’t made it theirs.  No bait, just switch.

Where’s the FTC on this? Would you buy from a company that paid to advertise on someone else’s gift registry, without asking?  Are they a bit scummy?  These aren’t small-time companies; advertisers buying the ads include Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson.  To sell baby products!

Next thing, they’ll be posting billboards on your roof and on your car. Without so much as a by-your-leave.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Data quality, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Ownership, Third parties, Value

Selling what isn’t yours

One profit model that seems to be working well is selling stuff that doesn’t belong to you.  Cuts your cost-of-goods-sold dramatically.

“Facebook Considered Charging for Access to User Data,” The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2018 (online).  Facebook considered charging people to access user data.

Now, I guess that’s marginally different than letting third parties see the “Facebook” user data (i.e., the data of the users of Facebook) for free, in order to develop apps or whatever.  But isn’t it still the users’ information?  Oh, and it might be somewhat contrary to what the CEO said to Congress about Facebook’s policy of never selling user data.

Leave a comment

Filed under Access, Collect, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Management, Oversight, Ownership, Ownership, Third parties, To report, Use, Value

What happens when the boss gets jailed?

This blog tends to mention cases where senior executives get (or don’t get) punished for their alleged misdeeds.  The spin is often that the seniors don’t get punished as hard as the worker bees.

But what happens when the CEO gets put in jail for his or her alleged misdeeds, which may have led to under-reporting in the company’s financials for the past five years?

“Carlos Ghosn’s Arrest Rocks Auto Empire,” The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2018 (online).  Nissan’s CEO jailed for allegedly under-reporting his earnings by several tens of millions of dollars.

How do you explain this to the worker bees?  What’s the culture at the top?  How did the Board not catch this?  Were there not controls in place?  Might the shareholders be a bit upset?

More a Governance and a Compliance issue, perhaps, although if one looks, one could find some information-related failures.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance (General), Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight

Governance?

Who governs access to the White House?  The Executive or the Judiciary?

“Judge Grants CNN’s Press-Pass Motion,” The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2018 A3.  Reporter’s due process rights “appear to have been violated” when his access to the White House itself is restricted.

Who controls access to your building?  To your floor?  To your office?  To your desk?  To your computer?  To your company’s information?

How do they do it?

In the absence of a written rule, who governs what behavior is permitted in a press briefing within the White House?  The White House?  The “press corps”?  The courts?  The Secret Service?

Leave a comment

Filed under Access, Controls, Culture, Duty, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Third parties, Who is in charge?

Access

“CNN Sues the White House, Seeks Return of Press Pass,” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2018 A3.  Can the White House refuse to let in a member of the press into the White House for being rude?

Avoid for now the political implications of this, and what the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment provide.  Think instead about who can deny a single individual access to information, while providing access to 190 other people.

Who is entitled to access information in your company?  What controls are in place to make sure that people who shouldn’t have access don’t get access?  Who determines what those controls are?  Who enforces them?  Is part of this culture?

Leave a comment

Filed under Access, Compliance (General), Controls, Culture, Duty, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Policy, Third parties, Uncategorized

Taking ownership

What’s the most effective way to let management know there’s a sexual harassment problem in your workplace?  Who owns the culture at your company?

“Google Workers Walk Out In Protest,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018 B1.  Thousands walked out in protest.

Certainly, a different vector for applying pressure; perhaps better than coming from the investors.  If there’s something wrong with your company’s culture, can you take action?  Is this limited to sexual harassment?  Is this evidence of harassment in any of the pending actions?

Leave a comment

Filed under Controls, Culture, Governance, Oversight, Ownership

Fraud at the top

“Former Goldman Bankers Charged,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018 A1. “Two senior … bankers allegedly paid bribes and stole and laundered money … [in] one of the biggest financial frauds in history.”

What does it say when two of your 435 partners and one of your managing directors commits a fraud?  Failures in systems/controls?  Bad culture?  Do you have a “cowboy atmosphere” in Asia?  Poor training?  Are these rogue employees?  What’s the impact on your reputation?  What was the tone at the top?

This is primarily a Governance point.  How will the new CEO handle?

Leave a comment

Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Oversight, Policy, Supervision, Who is in charge?