Journalism's slow death
Holy Week

Ethics in flight

BoeingLMy editor once told me that anything with "ethics" in the title was destined for the remainder pile.

So I write this with some trepidation.

But reading the newspaper these days reminds me that, despite the backlash in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, common ethics doesn't seem to be that common in many companies.

Instead of asking "is this right or wrong," some companies seem to be asking "will this work?"

Example: following highly publicized battery problems in its 787 Dreamliner, Boeing seems to have moved into a "limit the damage" phase of its crisis management plan.

When lithium batteries burst into flame on several flights, Boeing was quick to halt deliveries of the new airplanes, saying any fire on an aircraft is a serious issue.

The company cooperated with invesitigations into the causes of the battery malfunctions and ultimately won approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a plan to test and certify improvements to the 787’s battery system.

Meanwhile, the planes remain grounded and the company is subtly changing its public stance.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, in two recent press briefings senior Boeing managers downplatyed the battery problems.

The 787's chief engineer told reporters that "in the last 10 years, there have been thousands upon thousands" of battery malfunctions on commercial planes, making such events a reality of airline operations, adding that "many of them have resulted in smoke and fire."

Another veteran 787 engineer said fallout from battery failures "happens on our airplanes week in and week out."

In other words, batteries bursting into flame are no big deal. Get over it.

Apparently, the new tack stems from company research into peoples' attitudes toward the Dreamliner following heavy coverage of the battery fires.

Some industry experts warn that the strategy is dangerous, especially if another fire breaks out. Others say that the public has a short memory and this too shall pass.

But the real question Boeing should be asking isn't whether or not this Redemption Startegy will work.  The real question is whether or not it's right.

Is it designed to give people the information they need to make an intelligent decision about flying on a Dreamliner?  Or is it designed to minimize the chance that they'll even ask the question?

 

 

Comments

We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable information to work on. You've done an impressive task and our entire neighborhood can be thankful to you.

Thanks for the marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you're a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!

I usually do not comment, however after browsing through a few of the responses on this page Dick Martin Blogs: Ethics in flight. I actually do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Could it be just me or does it seem like a few of these responses come across as if they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are posting on additional social sites, I would like to keep up with you. Would you make a list of the complete urls of your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you're a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back someday. I want to encourage one to continue your great work, have a nice day!Everything For Sale www.saleall.net

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

The comments to this entry are closed.