Nick Nichols


My 2008 New Year’s resolution was to stop haranguing about weak-kneed politicians and corporate executives who worship at the appeasement altar every time a group of activist nannies demands tribute.  I concluded that whether or not I pontificated about the benefits of capitalism and freedom, the trend toward corporate socialism, cleverly veiled as the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement, would be ultimately reversed by the economic forces converging toward the end of 2007. 

When times are good, humans worry about ethereal issues like whether polar bears will have enough ice in one-hundred years?  When times are tough we wonder whether polar bears are edible.  My point is that there is nothing like a worldwide recession, a plummeting stock market and the possibility of inflation to focus our collective attention on how government is spending our tax dollars, and whether or not corporate managers are protecting and enhancing our investments. 

So, if the corporate socialists are about to experience the blunt force trauma of a pendulum swinging in a different direction, why am I writing this column and breaking my New Year’s resolution?  Because new information has surfaced in two recent articles that may cause the aforementioned pendulum to increase velocity and smite the boardroom socialists with a blow that even they will find difficult to forget.

According to a Business Week article published this week, a recent survey of 527 MBA students at 12 top-ranked business schools found that, “a company’s record on environmental issues ranked at the bottom of factors MBAs are using to select employers,” and that “also close to the bottom were other so-called company value issues such as corporate ethics, social responsibility, and community involvement.”  This news contradicts the propaganda spewed by the eco-socialists who want companies to believe that if they don’t cave and capitulate to every new environmental whim, no one will want to work for them. 

Corporate social responsibility advocates have long claimed that companies that fail to jump on the CSR bandwagon will suffer the consequences when it comes to recruiting new talent.  They conjured up this red herring to divert attention from the fact there is no evidence that appeasing the activists benefits the bottom line.  Now, thanks to Business Week, we can rest easy knowing that the vast majority of MBA students still consider salary and career opportunities as the most important factors in selecting an employer.  They haven’t all joined the Green Party!

Nick Nichols

Nick is a retired crisis communications executive. He also developed and taught graduate-level crisis management courses at the Johns Hopkins University. Nick is the author of Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns. He is a Vietnam veteran.