Deborah L. RhodeDirector, Center on the Legal Profession
E.W. McFarland Professor of Law
Stanford Law School
HP's comprehensive ethics and compliance program is a model for socially responsible corporations. The program strikes principled balance between maintaining an ethical culture and minimizing legal and regulatory risks. Compliance efforts extend to all areas of corporate action, including relationships with suppliers and business partners. Efforts to build a more proactive governance structure have yielded an impressive increase in reports of ethical concerns.
As the publicity surrounding HP's recent change in leadership demonstrates, the company is committed to maintaining core values even when they come with consequences. HP's Board of Directors recognized what research demonstrates: the tone at the top is critical. In the long run, HP can only benefit from making ethics count—not just in principle but in practice.