Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Edelman and the Walmart Fiasco

The headline of the story says: Edelman Has Been Through Enough at the Webpro news. If you remember Edleman has been managing the paid Walmart blogs without disclosing the fact.

Now the author of the Webpro story goes to defend Edleman by giving this analogy:

Edelman has more than 2,200 employees in 46 offices worldwide, along with some 15 specialty practices. While I don't know the dynamics of the company, I have worked for two global human resources consulting firms (William M. Mercer, which is still around, and Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group, now part of Aon Consulting). In both instances the culture was determined more by the local office leadership than the corporate leadership.

Hmm, now if the local leadership is so imporant are the local leaders also remembered in the same manner when praise is due? There is an increasing tendency to put this argument when things go bad with a company that it is a local issue and the CEO or the top management is not really responsible but it is some 25 year old. So then what exactly they are responsible for and for which they draw that paycheck? The article goes on to say:

As for Steve Rubel falling on his sword over the fake blogs episode, the uninformed thinking behind this is confounding. Steve works for one of those 15 specialty practices. That practice was not called into the WalMart account; he had nothing to do with the account or the blogs. Nobody is obliged to run their blogging plans by Steve for approval. He is not responsible for embedding an understanding of social media in every Edelman employee; he is responsible for meeting client expectations on those engagements in which his practice's input is sought. If Steve worked on the WalMart account and recommended this approach, I'd sing a different tune. But his practice was not involved nor should he be held responsible for actions taken outside the scope of his influence.

See? As soon as it is a mistake it is no longer top management's responsibility.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mridula. I am here in your blog after a some time. I had different web-name so you probably won't remember me. I recently posted about 'Blank Noise Project' (
in my blog. I am very moved by the goal of this project so had to write something about it in my blog, even though it is a food blog :). Please check it out if possible ( and if you feel like, spread some awareness to stop/reduce eve-teasing in India.

10/25/2006 11:23 PM  

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