Bad events in organisations are generally the product of bad systems rather than bad people. So, while it is right to place responsibility for the VW scandal with the chief executive rather than the individuals who falsified emissions tests, we need to go on and ask what it is about modern corporate life that has made such misbehaviour not only possible but appear increasingly common.
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21 October 2015, Financial Times
16 September 2015, Financial Times
Sir John Chilcot recently explained that the delay to his Iraq war inquiry is in part due to “the ‘Maxwellisation’ process, in which individuals are given the opportunity to respond to provisional criticism of themselves in the inquiry’s draft report”. This is, perhaps, an appropriate legacy for one of the most flamboyant and litigious crooks of recent times.
09 September 2015, Financial Times
The financial sector in the 1980s and 1990s was characterised by a rush to incorporation. The mantra of “shareholder value” restored the nexus between finance and business that Smith had feared and Brandeis denounced. And the stage was set for negligence and profusion to prevail once again.
19 August 2015, Financial Times
Both the leading candidates for the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour party have now committed themselves to renationalising the country’s railways. But the state-owned British Rail was one if the most reviled institutions in the UK, and privatisation has delivered many relative benefits.
29 July 2015, Financial Times
The Greek crisis is not simply the result of Athens’ inept public administration but also of an extensive carry trade on eurozone convergence by northern European banks, notably in France and Germany, which obtained short-term profits by matching northern eurozone liabilities with southern eurozone assets. For every foolish borrower there is usually a foolish lender.
01 July 2015, Financial Times
Projects acquire political momentum of their own. The original rationale is forgotten, if indeed it ever existed. And so it has been with HS2, the project to build a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and then to the north of England.
22 October 2014, Financial Times
There are good reasons for state action in areas of business misconduct. But announcing ad hoc measures against companies in the news is the wrong way.
09 July 2014
Concepts of fiduciary obligation have been watered down in the modern financial services sector. It is time to reverse that.
14 May 2014
The failures of the Coop provide insights into common management problems in not for profit institutions – including Oxford University.
01 April 2014, Financial Times
Whatever initial misconceptions spin doctors may promote, reality will out.
28 May 2008, Financial Times
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