Feature

Business columns: Responsibility can’t be outsourced

When something goes wrong, companies quickly discover that the public doesn’t blame the help, it blames the company that hired it, said Stefan Stern in the Financial Times.

Stefan SternFinancial Times

It was depressing to see the heads of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton blame one another for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico when they testified before Congress recently, said Stefan Stern. But they did offer a useful object lesson in the perils of outsourcing. The executives all seemed to “fall for the illusion” that by bringing in help from the outside, they were somehow relieved of responsibility for doing the job right. It’s an attitude that pervades the business world.

Despite a “long list of notorious outsourcing disasters,” executives still think they can whittle their companies down “to an ever-smaller essential core, while handing more and more tasks over to hired—cheaper—help.” But businesses are more than a collection of “stand-alone projects.” The good ones have “an overriding purpose and sense of identity” that’s diluted when outsiders take on key tasks. And when something goes wrong, companies quickly discover that the public doesn’t blame the help, it blames the company that hired it. You can outsource your operations, but you can’t outsource your reputation.

Recommended

Biden: NATO leaders 'thanked me' for setting up meeting with Putin
President Biden.
taking one for the team

Biden: NATO leaders 'thanked me' for setting up meeting with Putin

Indian Christian sect leader Ziona Chana dies, leaving 38 wives and 89 kids
Ziona Chana family
Rest in Peace

Indian Christian sect leader Ziona Chana dies, leaving 38 wives and 89 kids

The daily business briefing: June 14, 2021
Novavax vaccine results released
Business briefing

The daily business briefing: June 14, 2021

10 things you need to know today: June 14, 2021
The G7 summit
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 14, 2021

Most Popular

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats
Trump rally.
The big lie

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now
Bernie Sanders.
Sounds dope

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now

7 toons about the Dems' Joe Manchin problem
Political Cartoon.
Feature

7 toons about the Dems' Joe Manchin problem