Examining Layoff Ethics

from the doing-the-wrong-thing-badly dept

The stories are familiar. Companies are laying off people left and right – but they’re doing it for the wrong reasons, or they’re doing a terrible job of it. This article is discussing the ethics of layoffs, pointing out that many companies are laying people off, simply to improve their standing on Wall Street. It’s the uncreative way of saying “looking, I’m cutting costs!”, even if they’re losing out on a greater potential upside. Many businesses don’t consider the real consequences of layoffs, and just look at the immediate financial benefit. At the same time, they’re handing out fat bonuses to senior management for “helping the company through a tough time”. It’s all pretty sickening. The article also takes issue with who is chosen to be laid off. Sometimes it’s “the troublemakers” – even though most businesses need those people to keep them from getting complacent. Other times it’s the most senior people – because they make the most money. Once again, these decisions are being made to impact the short-term bottom line without thinking of the long term effect on the business.

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Comments on “Examining Layoff Ethics”

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Anonymous Coward says:

how many examples do you need

before you realize that there is no such thing as business ethics.

Business exists to make money. People work for businesses to make money. People who run businesses are automatically in a conflict of interest– they’re supposed to make money for the company, but they also want to make money for themselves.

Recently Kmart went bankrupt and paid it’s executives bonuses– I wonder who made that decision. People who run large companies will go to great lengths to make money– legal or not.

And small businesses aren’t much better. It’s no joy working for someone who perceives your every idle second as a dollar out of his own pocket.

Why do you think there are so few examples of executives taking huge pay cuts to save the company (they should be able to afford to since if the company prospers, they’ll make a lot with their options)? They don’t because they want the quick buck. Screw everyone else.

The airline industry is disgusting. A bunch of incompetant losers who can’t run a business at a profit (but pay themselves handsomely), then cry to the federal government for handouts– they’re stealing from the whole country.

Likewise farmers. Why do large farms need subsidies? The larger the farm, the more efficient it should be. Yet they also use lobbying influence to rob the nation.

You can pretend that executives and corporations have somebody’s (other than their own) interests at heart, but if you do, you better watch your back. And I’d recommend saving every dollar you can, for when the ax swings.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: how many examples do you need

I think that’s a little extreme… I think a more accurate description would be to say that most businesses take a very short term view of things, at the expense of long term opportunities. Businesses that think through their long term opportunities can make plenty of people wealthy – but too many business people try to aim for the quick buck (for themselves), which harms the long term prospects of the company (and harms society as well).

I wish that people would realize the long term opportunities, because I think they’d realize that there’s potential to make even more money that way, than running the short-term con-game that they do now.

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: how many examples do you need

I don’t think that’s extreme at all. Just read the news. What’s more prevalent? Shortsightedness or greed? These people aren’t stupid, yet they are the ones always looking for the loophole, for the angle, for the money.

Ask yourself this, if the original poster’s view was extreme, would we have to keep fighting 1) Spammers, 2) Spyware, 3) RIAA, 4) Jack Valenti, 5) Microsoft, 6) Enron and worldcom like companies, 7) The dot-com bubble…I could go on and on and on.

I’d really LOVE to believe that its only simple short-sightedness. However, CEOs, the people who run things, aren’t stupid. They keep up with current events, the lesson you allude to is BLINDINGLY obvious…so they didn’t miss it. They just choose to screw people over and make their piece of the pie and get out with as much as they can. period.

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