Celebrity Apprentice as a reflection of American corporate governance
I just finished watching this show called Celebrity Apprentice hosed by Donald Trump. Why I did is a question for a psychologist. You may be familiar with the show. It pits two teams of individuals against one another in random tasks, ending in the dismissal of one of the contestants from the losing team. The contestant leaves the show when Donald Trump as Chairman of the Board says, “you’re fired.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t find this spectacle to be a particularly flattering image of corporate governance in America. It represents a ‘hire and fire’ mentality in vogue along with de-regulation and finance über alles over the past quarter-century, that has led to a crisis of confidence in the American system of capitalism. What I found particularly galling in the particular segment I watched was how little of the boardroom decision-making was based on fact and how much of it was based on favouritism.
At some point in an earlier show that I did not see, two of the contestants, Joan Rivers and her daughter, let loose in a tirade that was completely out of bounds, reeling off a blistering attack of the most personal and bitter nature on two others. Annie Duke, one recipient of the abuse, remarked that she believed such behaviour would be met with censure, sanction or dismissal in any real boardroom. Yet, Joan Rivers ended the show triumphant. And from what I saw, it was clear that Joan Rivers was getting favoured treatment.
But, is it really true — are American corporations run by captains of industry who act in the best interests of shareholders, employees, and the communities they serve without prejudice? Or is American capitalism rife with favouritism, backroom dealing and corruption?
As for the outburst, I tracked down a copy of it to see what really transpired. Here it is below. Judge for yourself (you’ll notice Jim Cramer in the boardroom, by the way). Is this the kind of thing that goes on in American boardrooms? Is Celebrity Apprentice a reflection of American corporate governance?