“ROTTEN: Why Corporate Misconduct Continues and What to Do About It” by Marc J. Epstein and Kirk O. Hanson
Published January 2021
Marc J. Epstein and Kirk O. Hanson, Rotten: Why Corporate Misconduct Continues and What to Do About It, Lanark Press, Los Altos, CA, 2021.
Rotten is an “insiders’ account” of failed efforts to control corporate misconduct – and a forceful plan to do so now. Epstein and Hanson are recognized as pioneers in the study and practice of business ethics and social measurement.
Rotten addresses: 1) why corporate misconduct occurs, describing the roles played by bad apples (individuals), bad barrels (toxic corporate cultures), and bad orchards (corrupt competitive environments); 2) why efforts to control misconduct such as corporate ethics programs and business school courses on ethics have failed; and 3) initiatives which can help control misconduct now, including three tools to evaluate past corporate behavior, predict future ethics risk, and a “Sin-dex” to identify which misconduct is most serious. The book presents descriptions of 17 of the most prominent cases of misconduct since 2000.
Rotten is available on Amazon and other platforms and standard sources, and is priced attractively for use as a supplementary text or reading. The text is a short and an easy read for undergraduates and graduates. It could be the basis for a week of classes, a single session, or a semester project by assigning the 17 cases to groups of students. The authors have also posted seven short videos on the Lanarkpress.com website which answer the seven most commonly asked questions about the book’s argument, as well as other video interviews and resources.