Marketing the Values to the Employees
VALUES UNDER FIRE
The image of businesspeople has been greatly damaged in recent years. Many consumers have lost trust in major corporations and in their executives. In a 2009 survey of the image of different professions, only 16 percent of respondents said they respect the integrity of business executives.1 The survey further revealed that marketing-related professions such as car salesmen and advertising executives were the least admired by the public. The most admired professions are the ones that make a more personal difference in people’s lives like teachers, doctors, and nurses.
The survey’s negative result is not surprising in light of events in the recent decade. Since the early 2000s, a string of corporate scandals has struck the business world. These scandals made corporate values almost meaningless to consumers and employees. Among the most prominent ones were the scandals at WorldCom, Tyco, and Enron. The Enron scandal was an accounting fraud that led the company into bankruptcy. Enron included unrealized gains into its income statement that resulted in inflated earnings—a practice known as mark-to-market accounting.
In the best-selling book on the fall of Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room, you can read about the values of the company in 2000, a year before it went bankrupt.2 Two of their four values were respect and integrity. Unfortunately, Enron’s leaders did not practice these values at all. It was apparent ...