Should Uber be shut down?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

2015 press conference on the steps of SF City Hall before the corporate culture before the Uber’s corporate profile was revealed –  photo by zrants

Harvard business professor says the real problem in the tech industry is a “contagious” culture of lawbreaking that society shouldn’t tolerate

Everyone’s talking about Uber’s latest problems with management style, sexual harassment, company culture … and CEO Travis Kalanick, who embodied all of that, has been forced out.

Big investors hope Kalanick’s resignation and a deep internal investigation will help position the company for an IPO. They want Uber to go public pretty soon, and all of these scandals are tamping down the stock price.

But there’s another interesting perspective on Uber (and Lyft, and some of the other tech disrupters) that has appeared not in The Nation, or Mother Jones, or 48hills but in the Harvard Business Review, the voice of the eminently establishment Harvard Business School.

Harvard Associate Professor Benjamin Edelman presents what sounds like a radical hypothesis, but it actually makes perfect sense. He says that Uber can’t be fixed, that the corporate culture was poisoned from the start – and that the only solution is for regulators to shut it down.

The company’s cultural dysfunction, it seems to me, stems from the very nature of the company’s competitive advantage: Uber’s business model is predicated on lawbreaking. And having grown through intentional illegality, Uber can’t easily pivot toward following the rules (more)

What a coincidence that a Harvard scholar picks the “Summer of Government Overreach”, to acknowledge “Corporate Overreach” and lawless disruptive behaviors. When corporate “shared-property” schemes proved popular with the public, politicians helped pave the way. Now, they are trying to clean up the mess they created by disrupting communities and displacing millions of law-abiding citizens to make way for visions of a perfect future in 2040. Et is must be easier to fix the future than the present.

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