Wednesday, July 23, 2014

E pluribus unum

In our interconnected society, the behavior of public, private and non-profit organizations affects an increasing number of actors. Especially when it comes to complex socio-economic issues, organizational decision-makers face a large number of stakeholders with different norms, values and interests. The vision of consumer goods manufacturer Unilever is a good example for the efforts organizations make to reconcile these stakeholder interests: “[...] to double the size of the business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact“ (Unilever, Annual Report 2013), which takes into account the impact of business on different actors.
The Soccer world cup is behind us, the aftertaste remains. Take a look at the article in the Economist, „Beautiful game, ugly business”:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The human as a high performance product

Just in time (or precisely not, depending on your perspective) for the soccer world cup, the Franco-German television channel ARTE broadcasted a documentary with the title “Pressure, doping, depressions – top athletes come clean” about top-class sport. Although I thought I already knew quite a bit, this nevertheless opened my eyes for the absolute shocking reality of professional sport today. Athletes are deliberately and strategically trimmed and manipulated since childhood. In order to advance the profitability of the clubs, sponsors and multinationals , tricks such as dubious engagement contracts, performance enhancing drugs, doctors who purposely tell only half the truth and lawyers adept at eschewing lawsuits are commonly made use of. This has increasingly little to do with honest performance and sportsmanship. One wins – and earns in real – only if one is number one, and this necessitates that one is ready to cheat as also ruin one’s body in the long-run. When mere milliseconds decide between the first and second place and only the first place counts for the sponsors, than one can readily comprehend that athletes are willing to turn to any means so as to become and remain number one. The tragic part of all this is that athletes often don’t even have a choice but to serve this relentless pursuit of profit, lest they quit, which for a number of reasons is decidedly difficult.