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助纣为虐:好人为坏公司做事 [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-10-19 16:42:18 |Display all floors

作者:布朗温·弗赖尔(Bronwyn Fryer)/ Johnson Deng【译】
You consider yourself to be a decent person. You pride yourself on your conscience, and are discerning in what you buy and consume. Yet every day you get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work for a company you think hurts other people and the planet.

This presents a terrible conundrum for millions of us. Too many industries do harm in the world — whether through their actual practices, their lobbying efforts, or their treatment of the environment or of workers. They have lofty mission statements and attempt to mitigate this harm by donating to some good causes. But part, or all, of their bottom line is built on doing or abetting bad stuff.  

另外,在这样的低迷经济形势下,对我们许多人来说能有份工作已经是件非常幸运的事了。因此,要想仅仅因为个人价值观而放弃收入不错的工作是件难事。我们往往不会去考虑我们的体力、脑力活是否是在助纣为虐,相反,我们会不断的寻求不同的道德平衡来让自己感觉好受些。这并不是什么罕见的事;正如我的朋友榜丹·艾瑞里(Dan Ariely)在其日记中写道:我们都是骗子,不过我们还足以懂得自重。任何事情的对与错,人类终究是能证实的。但如果是你,你真的知道你已经做得太过了、已经超越了你的底线吗?那么,你应该如何是好呢?
Meanwhile, in this flagging economy, many of us are glad to have work at all. It's difficult to think about quitting a decent-paying job simply because of the values of the person in the mirror. Instead of thinking about whether the work of our brains and hands actually helps to abet evil, we regularly engage in various moral trade-offs to make ourselves feel better. This isn't uncommon; as my friend Dan Ariely has noted, we all cheat — but only by enough to allow us to live with ourselves. In the end, human beings can justify anything. But when, in your heart, do you know that you have crossed your own line? And what should you do then?

是我的一个非常特殊的朋友——格里高尔·巴纳姆(Gregor Barnum)的过早逝世让我开始深思这一难题的。
I came to ponder this conundrum following the too-early death of a friend, an extraordinary guy named Gregor Barnum.

获得耶鲁大学伦理学博士学位后,格里高尔当上了位于佛蒙特州伯林顿“第七代(Seventh Generation)”公司的第一任企业视角总监,第七代是美国最大的家庭及个人环保用品制造商。此间,格里高尔一直向公司灌输其产品象征的意识视角与价值观。格里高尔认为人类与地球要得以延续,最关键的是要打破传统惯性思维和重建企业经营方式(格里高尔在公司创始人杰弗里·荷伦德(Jeffrey Hollender)辞去CEO时离开了公司)。
After earning a master's degree in ethics at Yale, Gregor became the first director of corporate consciousness for Burlington, Vermont-based Seventh Generation, the nation's leading manufacturer of environmentally-friendly household and personal care products. In this role, Gregor helped to infuse the company with the kind of conscious, ethical values that its products represent. (You can read a 2006 interview with him here.) Upending traditional, linear practices and redesigning the way companies do business, Gregor believed, is critical if people and the planet are to survive. (Gregor left Seventh Generation when Jeffrey Hollender, the company's founder, stepped down as CEO.)

"Gregor refused to stop asking tough questions about the meaning and purpose of life," Hollender says. "What was it that he was here to do? Was he doing it? How could he do it better?"

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Post time 2012-10-19 16:42:35 |Display all floors
Even with the smallest of actions, Gregor was all about conscience. During his long runs in the countryside, for example, he would pick up trash alongside the road.  

I keep asking Gregor's spirit what he would say to people who feel stuck between the rock of their paychecks and the hard place of their consciences. He would likely answer with a simple statement: "You already know what to do. Find others in the company who think as you do. And if you can't find them, and if you can't look at yourself, you must leave and make your own thing. Do it better."

Forcing people to look at their own ethical balancing acts was part of Gregor's MO. "He had a sixth sense for finding good people," Hollender observes, "and just as acute a sense for those still struggling with their own evil."

I don't have any easy answers, and am still working out my own balancing act. But there's one thing I do know: we can't stop thinking about our own ethical tradeoffs and how we cope with conflicted feelings about our work. When I get asked to take on a freelancing assignment, I need to do due diligence on the client and the firms I'm being asked to write about. I've learned, through my own hard experience, that this is important if I am to live with myself. And sometimes I just have to pass.

In the end, maybe it's more about finding the right metric, one we can feel good about as we try to define our legacy to the world and ourselves.

在与癌症斗争期间,哈佛商学院教授克莱顿·克里斯滕森(Clayton Christensen)自我解剖地回答了自身的道德问题。在他最后一篇哈佛商业评论撰文“如何衡量你的生命?”中,他写道,“我非常清楚我的思想为那些使用我的研究的公司带来了丰厚的收入;我知道我起了巨大作用。但当我面临这样的疾病时,有趣是我看清了那种作用对我来说是多么的不重要。因此,我认为上帝评价我生命的尺度不会是金钱,而是我一生中感化、触动了多少人的生命。”
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, during his battle with cancer, helped answer his own ethical questions by looking inward. At the end of his Harvard Business Review article, "How Will You Measure Your Life?," he wrote, "I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous revenue for companies that have used my research; I know I've had a substantial impact. But as I've confronted this disease, it's been interesting to see how unimportant that impact is to me now. I've concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn't dollars but the individual people whose lives I've touched."

Even if we aren't celebrated Harvard professors, the work we all do daily touches hundreds, thousands, or millions of people, directly and indirectly. We touch them through our actions and non-actions, and through the actions and non-actions of our employers.

At the end of the day, we all need to think about how we measure our lives in the context of our work. We need to ask, as honestly as we can, whether our work is making the world better or worse. Choosing to say no to plunder and greed isn't easy, but at the end of one's life it will probably feel like the right decision.  


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