There is Nothing Wrong With Civility

There is a new, more dramatic form of hostility in the media and their users. I knew that but only now have experienced it with an anvil falling on me. I wrote an article for The Hill which distributes news in and around the US Capitol, entitled, “Thanks to Trump, America Shows True Leadership on the World Stage,” and the article triggered over 550 comments.

To my dismay, the article did not garner thought-provoking debate, but rather a disparage of uninformed commentary. Many writers had appeared to not even have read the article. Commentators argued primarily about the fact that Trump is not a leader, that they do not like him or his cabinet appointments, and disagree with his international performance. An overwhelming 575 out of the 582 of the comments were negative, while only three commentators made direct reference to the author and the article itself.

Commentators did not even address the arguments made in the article. Rather they used my thoughts as a platform for entirely extraneous arguments. There were continuously scrolling pages of hateful comments and threats aimed as a reply to specific earlier comments made. Users called each other names and created a fiercely hostile environment against freedom of speech.

There was no “conversation” or “discourse” or even arguments among people on the subject. It appears to me that neither readers nor writers learned new aspects due to the comments from the blog. They also clearly appeared not to be looking for such edification.

When making comments, readers should do themselves, their friends (and even their antagonists) a favor. Next time one encounters an article with a disagreeable title or first sentence, it should be read, thought about, and then commented on. Education and learning is the best form of artillery in an argument

Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Part 3: Strategy Focus

Early corporate citizenship initiatives were often directed at supporting commu­nity causes ranging from charitable organizations to cultural institutions like municipal symphonies and operas. Companies have been historically helpful in developing the cultural infrastructure of many communities. Whether these cor­porate philanthropy efforts were beneficial to the company or only to selected individuals is very subjective. However, many of these early efforts were not scrutinized for their contribution to the strategic objectives of the firm. Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer have argued that a company needs to choose its social initiatives strategically. They have advanced the concept of shared value, which they define as “policies and operating practices that enhance the competi­tiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates. Shared value creation focuses on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and eco­nomic programs.”

Porter and Kramer identify three approaches that apply to international marketers:

(1) delivering attractive products that are truly beneficial to society; (2) removing problems in the supply chain that are both costly and socially detrimental, such as reducing. greenhouse gasses; and (3) enabling local cluster development to help communities become more competitive.

They argue that “we need a more sophisticated form of capitalism, one imbued with a social purpose. But that purpose should arise not out of charity but out of a deeper understanding of competition and economic value creation.” The best interna­tional marketers are driven by the desire to create value and improve their com­petitive positions, so shared value becomes the right and smart thing to do.

Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Part 1: Introduction

This article was originally published in the book International Marketing by Professor Michael R. Czinkota and Professor Ilkka A. Ronkainen in Georgetown University 2010.

International marketing has never been more important or more powerful. World trade has increased exponentially in the past several decades. The rapid expansion of globalization has been driven by the inclusion of billions of new customers and new competitors in the world marketplace from countries like China, India, and the former Soviet Union, along with revolutionary improvements in communications and transportation, and further economic liberalization. Dramatic growth in disposable income in emerging markets and increasing access to a broad array of media channels allow new audiences much greater access to the many benefits that international marketers offer for a better quality of life.

Yet there are also fears and challenges emanating from the field and its activities. Just like the Roman god Janus, who had two faces and has come to embody the notion of contradiction to modern thinkers, international marketing brings both good and bad to the global marketplace. Exploitation of factory workers by global apparel and footwear marketers in previous decades, or by electronics and computer brands more recently, exemplifies the negative consequences of globalization. While there are operations and management dimensions involved as well, this negative impact is primarily a marketing issue because this discipline interacts closely with customers and suppliers. Unethical and inappropriate actions carry many risks such as negative brand publicity.

The role of global businesses and marketers in the financial crises that began in 2008 has led to public anger and increased scrutiny by society, particularly those who experienced great hardships, as shown in    The international Marketplace 17. 1. Not all markets experienced serious economic setbacks, but some of the poorer nations in the world were profoundly impacted. In its October 2011 “Note on Financial Reform,” the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace reported,

The costs are extremely onerous for millions in the developed countries, but also and above all for billions in the developing ones. In countries and areas where the most elementary goods like health, food and shelter are still lacking, more than a billion people are forced to survive on an average income of less than a dollar a day. Global economic well-being, traditionally measured by national income and also by levels of capacities, grew during the second half of the twentieth century, to an extent and with a speed never experienced in the history of humankind.

But the inequalities within and between various countries have also grown significantly. While some of the more industrialized and developed countries and economic zones—the ones that are most industrialized and developed—have seen their income grow considerably, other countries have in fact been excluded from the overall improvement of the economy and their situation has even worsened.