The Ethical Barometer

News & Events

Sheryl Sandberg “Leans In” A Little Too Much on Facebook Users

Facebook published a study that indicated it was fooling around with newsfeeds to its users (unbeknownst to those users) to determine whether its scientists could affect users’ emotions with positive and negative news. The problem is that the 700,000 users who were the subjects in the 2012 one-week study were unaware that they were part of the experiment. Those users are fit to be tied, as are government regulators in Britain and Ireland. However, COO Sheryl Sandberg of “Lean In” book and foundation fame, has some reassuring words, “We clearly communicated really badly about this, and that we really regret. We do research in an ongoing way, in a very privacy-protective way, to improve our services, and that was done with this goal.”

Some questions for Facebook users about this statement: (more…)

“The dog ate my homework. And then, well, believe it or not, something ate the dog! And now we can’t even find the something!”

The IRS has given schoolchildren everywhere new insights for homework excuses.

Classic Quotes

“I will tell you, my friends, I have seen this scourge of terror across the planet, and so have you. They don’t offer a health care plan, they don’t offer schools. They just tell people, ‘You have to behave the way we tell you to,’ and they will punish you if you don’t.”

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, on terrorist group, Boko Harem, the group responsible for kidnapping 300 young girls because, well, they went to school. Imagine! Terrorist groups without a health plan. On the list of the Barometer’s ethical concerns about terrorist groups, not having a health plan does not a scourge make. I wonder what the secretary thinks about a group that fines those who choose not to have a health plan. Must be a different kind of behavior mandate.

“If making money were a function of analysis, the whole world would be run by 28-year-old M.B.A.s. But it isn’t. It’s run by men and women who’ve got enough experience and judgment to look at all the facts and the analysis and then sit back and say, ‘Well, do I feel lucky?’”

Ron Kaplan, CEO of Trex, as quoted in the New York Times, May 4, 2014, p. BU2.

Ethical Dilemmas

“Get Yourself Fired — You’ll Make More Money!”

The Barometer was strolling through the home section of a major department store.  Tempted by  Christmas potholders at 50% off, the Barometer stopped and soon planted feet firm to continue listening as three employees of this fine establishment conversed about their futures.  The ring leader was explaining to the novice employees that after the new year begins, most of them would be going to part-time status because of slow sales, the economy, health care issues, etc.  The two employees seemed crestfallen.  But, their mentor would have none of it.  “Don’t do it!” said he.  “Get yourself fired because the money you make on unemployment will be better than part-time work here and you can get 99 weeks of unemployment.  Plus, you are eligible for medical care through the government because you are unemployed.  It’s a better deal. It is so not worth it to keep working.” This fine consigliore (more…)

Returning Slightly Used Shoes

Even the well seasoned Dillard’s manager was taken aback by this one. A customer brought in a pair of moderately expensive dress shoes, expressing a desire to return them because they just weren’t quite right. As the manager processed the order she checked inside the box to be sure that the shoes in the box were the shoes the matched the box – past experience dictated that follow-up on returns. The shoes were the correct ones for the box, but the customer had another issue. The shoes had masking tape on the bottom – masking tape that was dirty. When the manager returned to the customer (more…)

Trust Across America - Top 100 Thought Leaders Ethisphere - 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics

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