Issue 020 / Ethical Moviegoing, COP23 and the Psychology of the Black Friday Mob

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a MandateHarvard Business Review
I couldn’t stop nodding while reading this article — a must-read for CSR practitioners looking to embed social responsibility in their organizations. A Stanford organizational behavior professor and an IDEO partner argue that culture doesn’t change by launching goals and asking people to follow them; it’s about starting a movement that shifts people’s perspectives on “how things are done around here.” They share best practices from skillful movement makers.

Is There Any Way to Be an Ethical Moviegoer in the Post-Weinstein Era?The Atlantic
In recent weeks, the flood of sexual harassment charges in the entertainment industry has demonstrated just how pervasive and systemic this issue is. How can moviegoers ensure that they aren’t supporting institutions and individuals responsible for sexual exploitation? Taking inspiration from the apparel, technology and oil and gas industries, CSR expert Christine Bader explores what an industry-wide anti-harassment initiative could look like. 

What Happened (and Didn’t) at the Bonn Climate TalksThe New York Times
The 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany, with modest accomplishments. In case you missed it, this article offers a brief recap.

Americans Agree On Something: They Don’t Like Big CorporationsFast Company
A new survey from Just Capital finds that 62% of Americans distrust the Fortune 500 and 47% feel that business behavior is headed in the wrong direction. More positively, the study found that 85% of Americans are willing to pay more to buy from companies with business practices that are just.

An Open Letter to Lands’ EndMedium
This mom’s rant to retailer Lands’ End about reinforcing childhood gender norms went viral earlier this month. "If we are serious about tackling the toxic masculinity which persists in our culture, we must look at the images we market to our children,” she writes.

Culture change can’t be achieved through top-down mandate. It lives in the collective hearts and habits of people and their shared perception of ‘how things are done around here.’ Someone with authority can demand compliance, but they can’t dictate optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.
— From "Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate" (Harvard Business Review)

Spotlight: #BlockFriday


"What Turns Black Friday Shoppers Into Raging Hordes?” 

This was an actual headline in The New York Times this week.

Overconsumption has reached such heights that social scientists and psychologists are starting to study the factors that turn ordinary shoppers into dangerous mobs on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States. Their research points to four conditions — feelings of unfairness, perceptions of scarcity, competitive arousal and tribal bonding — that lead to consumer misbehavior.

Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that Black Friday has reached a fever pitch. But in recent years, it has also spurred a number of backlash movements. You have #OptOutside, started when outdoor retailer REI closed its doors on Black Friday to let its employees reconnect with the outdoors (170 organizations have since joined). #TakingBackBlackFriday from Ace & Jig is centered around swap meets, while #BrightFriday encourages consumers to resist the pressure of buying new things and instead rekindle love for the items they already have. #BuyNothingDay, organized by Adbusters, calls on the public to simply ignore Black Friday.

My personal favorite is Holstee’s #BlockFriday movement, started back in 2012. The campaign focused on the simple question:

“This Thanksgiving, what are you blocking Friday for?” 

Today, I’m traveling with my husband to visit a dear friend. Now, I pose that question to you. What people, activities and experiences are you blocking Friday for? 

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!