Unwritten Rules of Integrity


Did you catch the news over the last couple of days about the CEO of Raytheon, whose book of management advice turns out to be in part plagiarized from a 60-year-old engineering text? The similarities were discovered and posted by an HP engineer on his blog, leading to a NY Times story that delivered Raytheon and its CEO William H. Swanson into the kind of publicity swirl you just can't buy.

In a statement issued by Raytheon, Swanson concedes that the similarities between his Unwritten Rules of Management and those contained in a 1944 book, The Unwritten Laws of Engineering are "beyond dispute," and expresses "regret" that the earlier work was "not properly credited." That might suffice as a shame-faced (if not adequately contrite) admission of guilt, but Swanson then spoils it with this at the end of his statement:

"This experience has taught me a valuable lesson ֠new Rule #34: 'Regarding the truisms of human behavior, there are no original rules.'"

Actually, Mr. Swanson, there are original rules. Just not yours. Among journalists and academics, your actions would invite dismissal and disgrace. Perhaps Raytheon shareholders should be wondering what else you're not telling them.

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