Board Leadership: The Hewlett- Packard (HP) and Pretexting Case Study Essay

Board Leadership: The Hewlett- Packard (HP) and Pretexting Case Study Essay

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The problem to be investigated is the ethical dilemmas faced by Board members that impact their ability to be effective leaders. This problem relates to the ethical issues raised in the Hewlett- Packard (HP) and Pretexting: Spying on the Board case study which was an examination of leaking Board sensitive information and the investigation of board members. As such this essay explores key factors relating to: (a) the drivers for the investigation and the tacit approval of this conduct; (b) issues of legal versus ethical conduct; (c) issues missed when analyzing the pretext decision and; (d) the governance strengths and weaknesses of the HP board.
The drivers behind the pretexting investigation and the unspoken approval by the legal counsel and other HP employees was the consequence of an accumulation of problems that HP faced - starting with their reasons for hiring Carly Fiorina as someone who could save the company (Johnson, 2008). These tribulations can be summed up as a board that neglected three critical leadership considerations. First, the shareholders’ interest was not considered as a priority when the Board did not address the: (a) shareholder dissatisfaction from 2001 through 2004 because of the declining earnings; (b) complaints by the employees and officers about how the company functioned under Fiorin’s leadership; (c) public battle over the proposed merger of HP and Compaq, with HP constituencies ‘opposing it (Jennings, 2009). Second, the Board’s decision to institute an investigation without considering the consequences is an indication that that they had little to no regards to legal or ethical concerns. “The use of "pretexting" appears to have been as close to the line of illegal behavior as one can ge...

... middle of paper ...

...ennings, M. M. (2006). Why do smart businesspeople do ethically dumb things?
Corporate Finance Review, 11(3), 38-38. Retrieved from
Jennings, M. (2009). Business ethics: Case studies and selected readings (6th ed.).
Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Johnson, C. (2008). The Rise and Fall of Carly Fiorina: An Ethical Case Study. Journal of\
Leadership & Organizational Studies, 15(2), 188-196. Retrieved from
Stanwick, P. A., & Stanwick, S. D. (2011). The role of corporate culture in the unethical
activities at hewlett packard. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 16(2), 47-47-53. Retrieved from

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