The Soul of Business: From United to Volkswagen

soul“The soul leaves the body” is a common euphemism for death, but what about “when the soul leaves business”? This is increasingly the case, as business managers care more about the bottom line than about decency and curative behavior. As I explore in my article in Qualitative Marketing Research, business must change: the soul must come back home.

Wrestling for the soul of business is nothing new. Each year we are reminded about just how far some companies are falling short. In 2015 Volkswagen cheated emissions regulators. United Airlines recently bloodied a passenger while dragging him from a plane the company had overbooked. Most stunning to me is that not a single United employee – pilot, ground crew, or flight attendant – interceded to say, “This is wrong.”

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