Monday, May 28, 2007

Business, ethics, integrity, honour, image...

A friend presented a scenario to me and sought my thoughts this afternoon. Company A whose partnership with Company B in a joint-venture business turned sour. Now A wants to put B in bad light by highlighting B's possible misdeeds, unrelated to their past business together, through a public relations exercise.

B has allegedly delayed or not complied (not sure if intentional or unintentional) to a requirement set by the authorities. A, however, does not have any business operations in the country that B is operating in which the latter has committed the alleged misdeed....

Is it ethical or right for A to disguise their revengeful intentions using a public relations campaign (a smear campaign?) although the campaign may not single out B specifically? If the campaign is positioned in such a way that A is seen as supportive of the authorities and helping the authorities and various industries across the board achieve compliance, wouldn't anyone question A's true intentions since A does not have any business operations whatsoever in that country?

What benefit would A derive from this PR campaign apart from the satisfaction of seeing its rival go down if the campaign is successful? A positive image with the authorities, media and investors which in turn opens doors for easier entry, investment funds etc should it decide to start business there?

Is it prudent and worth spending the money for such a smear campaign? How would this be perceived in the eyes of its stakeholders i.e. shareholders, investors, employees?

These are just my initial unorganised thoughts.

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