News Corp ‘Does It’: Makes Worst Business Blunder in 2006 According to Survey

The business world has spoken: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. committed the biggest business blunder in 2006 when it decided to produce an O.J. Simpson book and TV special with the working title of “If I Did It.” Findings come from a survey fielded by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum (www.bpmforum.org) and the DecisionROI Institute. Just over 26 percent of 189 business execs from a variety of industries and company sizes cited News Corp’s puzzling stubbornness in moving ahead with the projects, in which Simpson speaks hypothetically on how he would have committed the 1994 slayings. Ultimately, public outcry and pleas from the victims’ families forced Murdoch to cancel the projects and issue a public apology—but not before considerable damage to News Corp’s reputation.

Taking a close second place to the News Corp decision debacle, at almost 23 percent, was the options backdating scandal story, a group of blunders that affected numerous companies in 2006 and forced restatements topping $5.7 billion and more than 325 law suits. Of course, the story is not finished by a long shot.

Rounding out the top five blunders:

  1. HP’s decision to “pre-text” board members and journalists to find a leak (20.1 percent)
  2. Google’s moved to set up a new “censored” Web site in China (17.5 percent)
  3. Energy hedge fund Amaranth Advisors’ loss of $6.5 billion in less than a month due to bad investment gambles (6.3 percent)

With the unfortunate expectation of more bad business decisions in 2007, on January 22 the DecisionROI Institute is releasing findings of its Corporate Decision Dynamics study, which encompasses insights from 350 executives, managers and directors and in depth interviews with over a dozen top decision makers. The study will help reveal the state of corporate decision making, and will offer recommendations for improved decision making strategies and processes.

When available, you may download the report at www.BPMForum.org.