Erika Hayes James
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  • What’s Happening to J&J?

    Johnson & Johnson has been the indisputable leader for decades in corporate reputation, trustworthiness, and effective crisis handling. The company has achieved such acclaim in no small way because of a widely held set of corporate values. J&J has one of the most clearly articulated corporate credos in the world.

    We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, and patient, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services… We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world…We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit…We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well…Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit…”

    In reading their credo I think to myself, “This is a company I would be proud to work for.” As a crisis expert, that sentiment was heightened over the years following the Tylenol poisoning in the early 1980s and seeing how swiftly and effectively J&J responded to the crisis. They lived their credo under the most challenging of circumstances and became admired throughout their world as a result.

    Given this backdrop, I find the recent scandals surrounding J&J to be a conundrum. For example, there have been increasing complaints that cost saving measures in the company have led to a decline in product quality leading to a growing number of product recalls. Equally as egregious is that the firm allegedly sent employees into stores and other outlets, posing as customers, to buy defective product (e.g., Motrin) rather than issue a recall. The lack of transparency and the perceived inconsistency with the company’s long-standing credo is not only an enigma but a problem they must rectify. Sadly, another recent event leads me to believe they have a long way to go to reclaim the public’s admiration and trust.

    Below, Darden MBA student Amelia Finnerty recants her own story of J & J’s woes and the effect it has had on at least one consumer.


    It all started on a routine shopping excursion to pick up tampons (squeamish boys need not read any further). What would normally be a quick outing turned into a drawn out event that turned me into a detective on a hunt. Read More