To be frank or restrained?

We've just started building a list of ethically questionable corporations.

As an increasing number of corporations build their employer brands and promote their job opportunities, we thought it would be helpful for jobseekers if we called out corporations that have shown a lack of moral character in the way they do business.

It's been a tricky list to build.

The early feedback we’ve received can be split into two categories.

Some find our findings frank and refreshing while others think we should be a bit more restraint with our criticism.

The argument for restraint is that it helps facilitate change. The rationale being; change often happens when opposing parties work together. Calling out a corporation for its ethically questionable behaviour is potentially too confrontational and doesn’t encourage collaboration for change.

The problem with being too restrained is that it helps normalise the problem.

Unethical corporate behaviour such as monopolistic business practices, tax avoidance and negligent pollution have become a normal way of doing business. It’s socially acceptable when Nestle markets Milo for its health benefit or when corporations move their headquarters overseas to benefit from lower taxes.

A bias for restrained criticism has contributed to this status quo.

The argument for frank criticism is that it uncovers the truth. It helps us see more clearly. Given the powerful marketing engines of large corporations, frank criticism helps us cut through the noise.

Navin Muruga