How do you Cultivate and Sustain Risk-Taking as the Company Expands?

How do you Cultivate and Sustain Risk-Taking as the Company Expands?

After reading the following vignettes, answer the four questions as clearly as possible. Respond to two other posts from your own perspective.

How do you Cultivate and Sustain Risk-Taking as the Company Expands?

According to CEO Donahue: “By talking about it. By celebrating failure-cases where we took bold risks and things didn’t work out exactly as we imagined, but we recognized that and made adjustments. In 2010, we introduced the largest pricing change in eBay’s history in the U.S., to make our marketplace truly balanced between auctions and fixed price. Six or eight weeks in, I knew something wasn’t right. There was a second-order dynamic in the marketplace that was depressing it, so over the summer we really drilled down to understand what was going on. That was a period of anxiety, but I had no regrets. It was one of those changes where you either flip the switch and you go for it or you don’t do it. We diagnosed the issues, we made adjustments, and we benefited in the fourth quarter. That’s a lot of what business is today: the old ‘Ready, fire, aim.’ You’re better off moving and, if you don’t get it exactly right, making an adjustment. That’s the only way to compete on the Internet today, because it’s moving so fast.”

Source: Ignatius, A. 2011. How eBay developed a culture of experimentation. Harvard Business Review. 89(3): 96.

1. Does Donahue’s reasoning apply only to online businesses? Can you think of other examples?

2. Are there still industries where rapid reaction might not be necessary? What are some examples?

What Ethics Really Means

“Most of us think we learn about ethics in the normal course of our lives. We learn about it from our parents, hopefully, at an early age. We learn about it from our teachers. We learn about it from religious leaders. And we see ethics in action in the workplace. But I think it’s very important that we consider what ethics really means in a broader sense.”

“Ethics doesn’t mean just not doing what is wrong. It doesn’t mean just avoiding fraud or lying. Ethics means – more and more — doing the right thing because the right thing works in the long run. Ethics also means doing the right thing even if it’s unpopular and difficult in the short run.”

Source:  Syron, R. F.  1999.  Ethical imperatives for stock markets in the new millennium. Speech made at Bentley College Center for Business Ethics, February 8.

3. What other sources of ethical beliefs influence actions in the workplace?

4. Is there a conflict when business leaders apply ethical beliefs from outside the workplace to business decisions?

Why or why not?