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In Search of Responsible Corporate Culture

Howell Hurst Uncategorized

People sometimes criticize my criticism of corporations. Let me make my position clear. I have launched, owned, and managed small business corporations, those with less (much less!) than $100 Million annual sales – a common means to define a small business in America. I have worked for several large corporations with well over $100 Million annual sales. I have no intrinsic animosity toward the corporate institution. Used properly, it is a viable management tool.

My criticism is focused primarily on U.S. managed multinational corporations which assume no social, cultural, and economic responsibility for the consequences of their policies on the workers of the country in which their senior officers are based. The mantra of American-based corporate officers is commonly that their sole purpose is to earn profits for their stockholders. They claim they have no other responsibility.

In several countries [Denmark is one example] corporate presidents limit their compensation to moderate multiples of what they pay their employees. It is not uncommon to pay themselves five times what they pay their employees. However, American corporate presidents not uncommonly pay themselves over 100 times what they pay their workers. They commonly earn bonuses for firing American workers and exporting their work to cheap foreign labor, allegedly to increase corporate profits.

I disagree that any U.S.-based corporate president is worth a mammoth salary and bonuses for methodically depriving American workers of work and life-supporting compensation. I disagree that profit alone justifies the existence of a modern corporation. When corporate money predominates in politics the validity of U.S.-managed multinational corporations becomes dubious. When excess corporate profits deprive millions of Americans of work, corporations become disposable.

When U.S. guided multinational corporations assume responsibility for the conservation of American workers’ jobs, I will praise them. Until then, I don’t.

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