Sierra Club teams up with Clorox
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. » The Clorox Co.,
targeted by activists for emitting pollution, has a new partner: the Sierra Club.
The environmental group, better known for suing corporations than forging alliances with them, has agreed to promote a new line of eco-friendly Clorox products in exchange for a share of the profits. Some Sierra Club chapters are crying foul, and officers in northern Michigan even quit over the deal.
"They sold their soul to the highest bidder," said Monica Evans, who helped reactivate the club's nine-county Traverse Group in 2000.
She and the group's other five executive committee members resigned in May but only recently made their decision public.
The walkout highlights the passionate debate among members of the Sierra Club over the partnership with Clorox, named one of a "dangerous dozen" chemical companies by the Public Interest Research Group in 2004.
"The Sierra Club has been fighting against Clorox for decades, trying to get them to be responsible," Evans said. "Now we're partners with them? It doesn't make any sense."
Flirting not good for negotiating
You can say no to a flirt.
Negotiators who complimented their adversaries and who were instructed to be "playful" were actually losers at the bargaining table compared with those who played it straight, according to a recent study.
Two University of California, Berkeley business professors put together three experiments comparing flirtatious sellers to neutral sellers. The buyers were not given instructions on how to act.
Those who were told to flirt with their bargaining partner in the role-playing games were perceived as more likable. They even lifted the moods of those they flirted with. But they consistently got worse offers, and the flirty sellers' own moods suffered as a result of straining to play a role.
Men picked up on the flirtation more often and liked a flirtatious female bargaining partner even more than women liked the flirtatious men.
"It's the only domain in which men are actually more sensitive," said Laura Kray, one of the Berkeley professors.
Older convicts a better hiring bet
You're considering hiring someone with a criminal record. Risky enough. So which is likely more problematic: An older man who committed a violent crime and then served a 20-year sentence, or the 20-something drug offender?
Go for the older man, according to Episcopal Social Services, a New York nonprofit providing services to those convicted of crimes.
"Violent offenders tends to be the better risk for an employer, because he's done his one big sentence. He's not going to do it again," said Anne Williams, a director at the agency, who added that formerly incarcerated generally make excellent employees.
"Individuals who have been imprisoned are highly motivated," Williams said. "The work ethic they get in prison is very strong. Employers can save on training costs."
Prisons often provide vocational training and many prisoners earn advanced degrees while doing their time. But sex offenders and arsonists are off-limits to ESS' employment services. Many jobs, including those dealing with "vulnerable populations" such as the elderly and young children, are also not permitted for those with criminal records.
For their troubles, employers can get a federal tax credit of up to $2,400 per year for each formerly incarcerated employee, as long as he or she is less than a year out of prison. Employers also can apply for government-provided insurance to protect against theft by formerly imprisoned employees.
Book questions Harvard b-school
Philip Delves Broughton, an English newspaperman who graduated from Harvard Business School in 2006, chronicled the storied b-school in his new book, "Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School."
While lauding the smarts of his fellow students, he wonders what kinds of businesspeople Harvard is producing. He noted that almost half his class accepted jobs in the financial services sector.
"If your day is spent fiddling with money on a screen, how real does your work become? How real is the fact that thousands are losing their homes?"
At the same time, he criticized what he saw as the school's mission of "educating future leaders of the world," saying HBS should stick to churning out capable business managers.
The school's stated mission has encouraged hubristic behavior and a sense of entitlement among its graduates, he said.
Kerry Parke, a school spokeswoman, would not comment on Broughton's opinions. But she did note that looking only at recent graduates' first jobs, as Broughton did, gives a skewed perspective. Ten to 15 years after graduation, she said, half of graduates describe themselves as entrepreneurs.