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Hughes aircraft

Howard Hughes founded this company at the beginning of the twentieth century. Hughes became a regular supplier of military hardware to the U.S. military. In the 1980's this included parts for surface to air misiles and fighter aircraft. One division specialized in computer chips designed to convert analogue information to digital for use in guidance systems and decision support systems. For example, these chips interacted with radar to help pilots of fighter aircraft avoid enemy missiles and also served as an essential component for missile guidance systems, the so-called smart bombs. Hughes had won the competitive bids for these highly profitable military projects but they had also committed themselves to tight delivery schedules with inflexible deadlines. And on top of this, the U.S. Airforce demanded that these computer chips and the systems that integrated them be rigorously tested to show that they could withstand the severe environmental stresses of battle. Hughes soon fell behind on the delivery of these computer chips causing a chain reaction of other delays both within the company and between the company and other links in the military supply chain. The environmental tests carried out by quality control under the supervision of Frank Saia had worked hard to complete the time-consuming tests and still remain on schedule with deliveries; hot parts (parts in high demand) were pulled to the front of the testing line to keep things running but soon even this wasn't enough to prevent delays and customer complaints. Giving way to these pressures, some Hughes supervisors pushed employees to pass chips without testing and even to pass chips that had failed tests. Margaret Gooderal and Ruth Ibarra resigned from the company and blew the whistle on these and other ethical failings that had become rampant in Hughes. So the corporate social responsibility question becomes how to change this culture of dishonesty and restore corporate integrity to this once innovative and leading company. (Background information on Hughes can be found at computingcases.org.)

Patricia dunn v. tom perkins on corporate governance

When Patricia Dunn became a "non-executive" chairman of Hewlett-Packard's board on February 7, 2005, she brought with her an outstanding reputation in corporate governance. Her top priorities were to oversee the election of a new CEO after the firing of Carly Fiorina whose management of the recent acquisition of Compaq had lost her the HP board's support. Dunn also was determined to stop leaks to the press from high-level HP officials. She viewed the latter task as a fundament component of the post-Enron corporate governance approach she felt was needed as Hewlett-Packard moved into the 21st century. But her formal take on CG was at odds with powerful board member and successful venture capitalist, Tom Perkins. In his opinion, too strict an approach to CG stood in the way of HP culture and took focus away from competing with Dell and IBM as well as staying on the cutting edge in the development of new technology. As the leaks continued, Dunn's investigation into their source (most likely a discontented HP board member) became more active and rigorous. And the disagreements between her and board member Perkins deepened; their incompatible views on CG (and other disagreements) led to Perkins's resignation from the HP board. Things became critical when Perkins received a letter from A.T. and T. informing him that an account had been established in his name (but without his knowledge or consent) using the last 4 digits of his social security number and his private phone number. During the HP-led investigation into the press leaks, a private investigation firm used an illegal technique known as "pretexting" to obtain confidential information about HP board members and news reporters including private phone and social security numbers. Perkins reported this to the SEC, and Patricia Dunn, as chairman and de facto head of the leak investigation, was indicted on four criminal charges including identity theft.

Questions & Answers

price elasticity of demand is the degree of responsiveness of a quantity demanded to the change in price of the commodity in question.
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to business, management, and ethics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 14, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11959/1.4
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