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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ten Corporate Governance Must Reads

Board Meeting

Board Meeting

Top stories in 2016

Business Ethics Staff

As we head into 2017, a look back at last year’s corporate governance scandals can provide direction for the trouble spots that may be ahead in the realm of business ethics.  There was no shortage of them, building on 2015’s momentum with the Volkswagen emissions fiasco. Wells Fargo stands out with the widespread practice of creating phony accounts to hit quotas, as do allegations of harassment at Fox News by former anchors. The pharmaceutical industry also faced scrutiny over price gouging and unsubstantiated claims in the case of Theranos. 

Regulatory bodies toughened their approach to corporate crime in line with 2015’s “Yates Memo.” Prominent traders were indicted, six Volkswagen executives faced criminal charges, and Takata plead guilty and agreed to a $1 billion settlement over faulty airbags. In response, the importance of corporate culture, ethics, and even civility has risen to the top of trending themes. 

The end of 2016 was marked by the social and political pressures that companies faced. Carrier and Ford faced the ire of now-President Trump’s Twitter account as they planned outsourcing manufacturing. Both have since changed their plans. Going into 2017, corporate leaders will continue to struggle with balancing the interests of their shareholders and the growing social pressures of protectionism and nationalism.

  1. 5,300 Wells Fargo employees fired over 2 million phony accounts
  2. Justice Department Toughened Approach on Corporate Crime, but Will That Last?
  3. He who would Valeant be: Lessons from a drug firm’s disaster
  4. Harassment Crisis Builds at Fox News, Despite Its Swift Response
  5. No Time to Be Nice at Work
  6. Silicon Valley Looks for Lessons in Theranos
  7. Mylan’s EpiPen Pricing Crossed Ethical Boundaries
  8. The Thought Leader Interview: Jonathan Haidt
  9. How Boards Can Assess the Health of Their Companies
  10. Trump Tweets Out Promises to Increase Import Taxes 


Feb 6, 2017