The Christian Science Monitor : 2019-02-11

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MONITOR’S VIEW THE Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy A commercial plug for the purpose-driven worker EDITOR: Mark Sappenfield CHIEF EDITORIAL WRITER: Clayton Jones A s with every Super Bowl, Americans this year joined in one of their favorite national pastimes: judging the TV commercials shown before and during the football extravaganza. This year, based on an ad released by Gillette, the commercials are more than simply entertaining. They are “purpose driven.” Gillette’s 30-second “We Believe” commercial calls on more men to prevent harassment of women and to challenge “toxic” stereotypes of maleness. It has stirred debate similar to a Nike ad last year featuring Colin Kaepernick, the kneeling quarterback. Yet it has yet to fall flat like a Pepsi ad that was seen as using images of the Black Lives Matter movement only to sell more soda. Surveys find corporate leaders increasingly believe they must stand up for a cause. The motive is not only better branding with consumers who want to associate with companies that align with their values. It may also be necessary to attract and retain younger workers. More companies face rebellions from employees who disagree with their actions. Last fall, 20,000 Google workers walked off the job for a day to protest the way the company had dealt with cases of sexual mis- Richard Edelman, the firm’s president and chief executive officer. Another survey done last year of American corporate leaders, conducted by GlobeScan and 3BL Media, found that advocacy by CEOs is on the rise. One big reason is to meet employee expectations. Today’s C-suite executives must offer more than perks and pay to employees. Sports equipment retailer REI, for example, wants its 12,000 workers to be so close to the environment that it has closed its doors “First the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” on recent Black Fridays so employees can use the day to enjoy the outdoors. The Edelman survey hints that more people seek a purpose in life – a calling beyond survival or profit-making. Employers are beginning to heed this desire. And more Americans may see it in the commercials during the Super Bowl. r When anti-graft protests succeed I n its latest survey of 180 countries by levels of corruption, Transparency International (TI) tried something different. For the first time, the global watchdog group measured links between public-sector corruption and each country’s basic freedoms, rule of law, and democracy. The researchers need not look too far to find current negative examples. In recent weeks, the world has witnessed mass protests in two of the most-corrupt countries, Sudan and Venezuela, which are also among the least democratic. Each country could be on the brink of regime change. In each country, demonstrators demand the kind of honesty and accountability in governance that they see in healthy democracies. In Sudan, which is Africa’s third-biggest country, the regime chose to balance its budget by raising bread prices rather than by reducing corruption. The move brought people into the streets in unprecedented unity across ethnic divisions. In Venezuela, the siphoning of oil wealth for the political elite and military brass finally united the opposition in the elected legislature and led to popular demands for an end to a culture of impunity. The report found full democracies scored an average of 75 out of 100 on the corruption index. Flawed democracies averaged 49 while autocratic regimes averaged 30. Yet the real value in the survey lies in a list of countries that have reduced corruption by improving their democracies. That link was clear. In the past seven years, 20 countries have made such progress. They include Estonia in Europe, Senegal and Ivory Coast in Africa, and Guyana in South America. None are perfect. Even Denmark, a strong democracy that is also ranked as the least corrupt, saw its largest bank caught in a huge money-laundering scheme last year. Yet nations on the list can provide lessons for the majority of countries that remain below average in the TI rankings. Solutions against corruption Anti-corruption reforms in Senegal and Ivory Coast, for example, are a result of a new “political will ... demonstrated by their respective leaders.” In Argentina, Ecuador, and El Salvador, reform is led by better investigations in corruption cases against high-profile individuals, including some former presidents. Estonia’s progress is a result of radical reform of the courts and public administration, a relatively clean privatization of state enterprises, and digital transparency in government dealings. Among its own recommendations, TI researchers cite the need for a broad societal consensus in favor of integrity in public institutions. “Engagement of citizens in oversight of government decisions and spending, particularly at the local level, not only crowd-sources accountability but promises to re-invigorate the democratic process,” the report states. So while watching protests like those in Sudan or Venezuela, it is helpful to view them as simply an outbreak of citizen engagement in favor of integrity. Many other countries have been there, done that. PEOPLE ARE PUTTING FAR MORE TRUST IN ‘MY EMPLOYER’ TO DO THE RIGHT THING IN CHALLENGING TIMES THAN THEY ARE IN OTHER INSTITUTIONS. conduct. The demand was clear: You must earn our trust by showing what you stand for – other than making a profit. Finding trust for information All of this fits into a global trend. In a new survey of 28 countries about the levels of trust around the world, the communications giant Edelman found a profound change from previous surveys: People are putting far more trust in “my employer” to do the right thing in challenging times than they are in other institutions, such as media, government, and social activist groups. And a majority of employees say their employer is a trustworthy source of information about societal issues. “People have low confidence that societal institutions will help them navigate a turbulent world, so they are turning to a critical relationship: their employer,” says r 32 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY FEBRUARY 11, 2019 | PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . 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