The Rupp Report: Responsibility

Certainly, many Rupp Report readers experienced this situation when they were kids: You didn’t
behave in the way it was expected and something, whatever, happened. You were expecting some kind
of punishment, for example, no TV tomorrow or even the whole week, and so on. Many parents would
say after this circumstance: “You are responsible for your own doings. Now change your attitude and
do better.”

Old-fashioned Values

In modern times, this discipline may seem old-fashioned to many people, and a good education
promoting personal responsibility seems to have vanished. Today, there seems to be more of a “who
cares” attitude. Almost every day, one may read of another situation in which — sometimes — a
barely credible lack of responsibility is seen. And in most of the cases, it seems the impetus is
money or power.

The Rupp Report is far from being a political observer. However, everyone should take his/her
own share of responsibility for the sake of the whole community. And today the world is more than
just countries — it’s a global community.

In industry in general, and in the textile and chemical industries in particular, a trend
that has been observed in the past few years has been to take over another company, often the major
competitor, to “create synergies” or be stronger in the market. And in many cases, this has been
done with borrowed money; and the acquirer has not been able to pay the money back. Result: big
losses and jobless people. Is it modern management to claim that whatever you do, it’s not your
responsibility, and you are a victim of circumstances? Fortunately, there are still some true
patrons of family-owned businesses, who take pride in taking care not only of their own
pocketbooks, but also their employees.

In a nutshell, the financial crisis starting in 2008 was thought by some to illustrate a
considerable lack of responsibility by the major financial players, who would privatize the benefit
but see the losses socialized, without concern for people living on Main Street.

Increased Salary, No Dividends

In Switzerland, people are currently shaking their heads. At the annual general assembly of
UBS Switzerland, the management declared that the bank is not able to pay a dividend. However, it
was possible for the management to increase its own salaries and benefits quite heftily.

Soaring Energy Consumption

One year ago, the Gulf of Mexico was flooded with oil — a major disaster. One year later,
some companies are already asking for permission for new drillings. Some wonder whether they care
about the people living and working in the neighborhood of the Gulf of Mexico. The world’s hunger
for oil must be satisfied, and the profits of the companies as well.

An even more devastating catastrophe happened a few weeks ago in Japan: First the tsunami and
then the breakdown of the nuclear power plants. For weeks and weeks, the operator of the plant
wasn’t honest in his reporting, and the impact of this disaster appeared to be trivialized. Even
before the accident happened, the government was aware of the problems at this plant. And the
responsibility went from one place to the other. Yes, of course, the increasing population around
the world needs more energy, and at the moment there may not be a better alternative to nuclear
power plants to produce enough energy, but there’s the issue of getting rid of nuclear waste in a
safe way. One has to care for the environment and not leave the world to the children as a garbage
dump. The Chinese understand the need to care for the environment
(See ”
Rupp Report: The Chinese Way To Economy And Ecology
,” www., April 19, 2011)

By the way, last Monday, the Japanese Physicist Toshiso Kosako retired from his job as a
special consultant for the Japanese government concerning the recent Fukushima event. The reason he
gave for his retirement was that he “couldn’t take the responsibility as a scientist to accept a
higher radiation dosage for children,” as the government intended to do so.

Information Is Motivation

The first lesson of managing people is that information means motivation. Today, with all the
electronic information technology tools, most of the global citizens are well aware of all these
problems, and they expect honesty from their own governments and, of course, from industry as well.
And after all, a bad spirit full of mistrust in the population leads to a bad situation. And a bad
situation leads to a bad economic environment with the well-known results as noted above. By
searching for solutions and intermingling economy and ecology, responsible people are able to solve
the problems and to get the right answers. Everyone has to assume responsibility.

If you have a story to tell about what the word “responsibility” means to you or your
company, write to the Rupp Report

May 3, 2011