What does your business stand for?
I was reading an HBR article on "change management" and in it the authors uses an example of a military equipment manufacturing company to illustrate the idea of "tinkering" or small scale changes. Something he said triggered what I want to say in this entry.
"The company developed a new production strategy, which it called the Barbie doll. It built a base helicopter that could be dressed up with a set of accessories- guns, bombs, avionics - for customers in the military to play with. The strategy allowed the company to reap the benefits of both mass production and mass customization"(Abrahamson, July-August (2000), Harvard Business Review)
You are probably wondering what the hell I am on about. Well, as I read this passage, I was amazed by how the tone and attitude adopted by the author is so innocent and naive, using words like "play" , "Barbie". Especially in the last sentence, I just wanted to add another word "mass destruction".
Considering that these product are going to be used for only one purpose-- extermination of human lives, I can't help wondering how, and what can the purpose of vision of the company be? As the leader of the company, how can he argue what his company is doing is in fact beneficial to the human race?
The same argument probably could go the same way with tobacco companies. How do they justify to themselve and their employees what they are doing is ethical or even moral? Satisfy people's needs? There are demands out there, we just supply the product for that demand? I suppose, at the end of the day, this comes down one's moral propensity of whether the end result (i.e. loss of human lives) should be a consideration of the people who did not directly cause it (i.e. manufacturers).
This is something I really like to get some ideas from you guys, all inputs are appreciated.