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Tough Calls by Linda D. Henman

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CHAPTER 5

Brainwashing or Persuasion?

Against a backdrop of GM’s recall scandal and Volkswagen’s 2014 emissions scandal, painting modern executives as villains and blaming corporations for all manner of societal ills has nearly become a national pastime. While we still admit that big businesses provide jobs, develop technological advancements, and provide needed products and services, we have sunk into an anticorporate movement. We accuse corporations of general malfeasance while specifically blaming leaders for undermining the dignity of employees, corrupting cultures, and compromising societal mores.

When and how did things change? Hollywood producers of shows like Mad Men don’t hesitate to paint the executives of the ’50s and ’60s as loud, ...

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