The visibility ethics

Early in the pandemic, shortly after Congress approved trillions of dollars in aid for individuals and businesses suffering from job losses and decreased revenue, companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House received millions under the Paycheck Protection Program. Of course, they were instantly lambasted, given the size of their organizations.

However, the purpose of any corporation is to increase value to stakeholders. Under that very broad understanding of the purpose – to make money – it would be counterintuitive to not apply for that additional revenue. 

This is an issue that is seen, again and again, currently playing out on Facebook, in Disneyland, and likely the nation.

Facebook has the choice of whether to do more to curb hate speech or to keep a more hands-off approach in the hopes of driving more revenue. Now that advertisers such as Starbucks are pulling out of Facebook (and other social media), the loss-of-revenue could become a very real driver for organizational change.

Similarly, Disney is pushing to reopen its parks here in the US. Now, we are arguably facing more of a health crisis now with spiking numbers than when we initially started shutting down back in March. Because, now, there’s little to no talk about shutting down again.

The company is dedicated to increasing revenue. If everyone else is open, why would a company self-censure itself? That could mean losses of revenue. Yet employees in Disneyland are striking against the reopening over health concerns. 

While there are businesses out there who will do the right thing at the cost of losing business, there are others who will do the accepted thing in the hopes of earning revenue. Sometimes, it’s expensive to do the right thing.


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