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A New York magazine investigation of Vice Media's rise suggests the group burnished its credentials as a gateway to a lucrative youth market by wooing businesses such as Intel with a combination of bluff and chutzpah. In my column this week, I ask how far entrepreneurs and start-ups should stretch the truth in their quest for survival.
My conclusion is that it is always dangerous to lie: untruths could backfire badly. But for my management challenge, I'd like to read your mini case-studies (fictional or real) of scenarios where that virtuous conclusion could be challenged. Send your concise examples to email@example.com.
In further reading this week, an analysis in Columbia Journalism Review that strikes close to home: Michael Lindenberger looks at how older journalists are adapting to new digitally driven ways of working and the divisions that can arise with younger colleagues. This is a situation that has parallels across many industries disrupted by the advance of digital technology and automation. "Intergenerational tensions can flare", Lindenberger writes, but he points out that in some places "the natural suspicion of one generation by another has been eased by something as simple as working together closely on small teams with common goals".
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Brussels sharpens focus on ‘sustainable’ investment In March 2018, the European Commission announced its action plan on sustainable finance. It has an ambitious goal: devote 40% of the EU budget to financing the move to a low-carbon model and 60% towards not harming it. The other objective is to ensure that EU trade agreements are aligned with the Paris climate agreement.
By responding to this ambitious plan, the academic world has the power to develop courses that match the expectations not only of businesses but, above all, society. Universities and business schools need to reassess how they are teaching financial practices that show greater responsibility.
BlackRock’s gun-free funds show ethical investing is a good bet Blackrock, the largest investor in the world with its $6 trillion in assets under management, announced its plan to exclude firearms manufacturers and retailers from its “broader socially responsible mutual and exchange traded funds”. The article states: "Such funds have historically excluded companies that make cluster bombs, nuclear reactors and cigarettes, while favouring companies that are rated socially responsible”. Blackrock’s move affects companies such as Walmart and Kroger.
Activist shareholders are no longer just content to draw dividends — they are now demanding answers about corporate ethics, even if it means withdrawing their assets from certain companies.
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan