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GM's Lesson: Corporate Culture Needs to Listen — That's 'NEEDS'
By: Doug Bedell
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When does a corporate culture move from being craven to corrupt? The transition may occur by insidious degrees, but corporate PR people need to be present at the gate to keep it from happening. If PR doesn’t have that sort of influence in your corporate setting, it’s time to change settings.

Such unavoidable reflections emerge in reading “If Only They Had Listened,” a piece about an ill-fated General Motors employee with a conscience in the current Businessweek (June 23). Lest you doubt Flack Me’s concerns about the “old” GM culture, read the Businessweek piece. It’s appalling.

“Whistle-blowers” are sainted, but there aren’t enough of them. That’s really a PR role — think about it. Do so in the context of GM becoming a corporate wreck.

Businessweek is to be especially commended for this piece, its cover story. Consider the cover: Black, with sparse white and red text:

“GM Employee:

“‘I felt morally responsible—"

“GM Lawyer:

“‘That’s not what I asked you.”

“GM Employee:

“‘—to fix a problem that I found in a vehicle.”

“GM Lawyer:

“‘Was it part of your job description?’

“GM Employee:


“How GM Silenced Its Whistle-Blowers, p. 48”

That’s it. PR people, pay heed!


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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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