Monday, June 18, 2007

About Conduct

Last week I said Ryan Healy was engaged in wishful thinking when he said people shouldn't - and shouldn't have to - worry about posting possibly embarrassing photos on sites like MySpace. In today's Wall Street Journal, Carol Hymowitz writes that "today's ambitious business managers need to be aware that their personal behavior will be as closely scrutinized and judged as their work performance."hough her column focuses on senior executives more than professional staffers, it's a good look at the attitude that's perhaps more pervasive than it previously was in corporate America: Good conduct counts.

Corporate directors are far less willing than they were a few years ago to look the other way if an executive does something that threatens to embarrass a company. This is the case even if the executive is a star performer. It's also true even if the action had nothing to do directly with work and isn't tied to illegal behavior, such as sexual harassment or "creating a hostile work environment." The offense could be getting drunk or acting lewd at parties or having tangled or abusive love relationships.

"It used to be that as long as an executive performed well on the job, no one cared much about what they were doing in their free time -- or even behind closed doors in the office," says Doug Schwarz, an attorney at Bingham, McCutchen in New York. "But a sea change has occurred, with every aspect of managers' conduct being scrutinized -- and ever more closely the higher up one goes."

Personal Boundaries Shrink as Companies Punish Bad Behavior [WSJ - $]

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