Well the HP way has been near death for a long while, but surely the current crisis at HP spells its demise. In 2002 The Palo Alto weekly was forecasting its end. This quote from that article particularly highlights the difference between the initial culture fostered by Hewlett and Packard and the current debacle: "When former employees reminisce about the HP Way, they toss around words like "integrity," "trust," and "team." Hmm, there doesn’t seem to have been an abundance of trust and integrity in this case.
The OU has just received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation (not related to HP, set up by William and Flora Hewlett separately) to make our content open, as did MIT with the open courseware project. One can’t imagine such philanthropy from those currently at the helm in HP, they’d be more likely to spend their money increasing the legal restrictions on content than making it freely available.
The crisis also highlights the dangers of euphemisms. The practice of obtaining phone records from employees without their knowledge is known as ‘pretexting’. Now, if it was called ‘spying’ then it would seem unsavoury, but pretexting sounds scientific, techy and modern. One can imagine the conversation:
Investigator – ‘Well I could get all their phone records and then we’d know who the leak was.’
HP person – ‘Isn’t that spying?’
Investigator – ‘No, no, no, that would be illegal. It’s pretexting.’
HP – ‘Oh, in that case, go ahead.’