From Its Origins In A Palo Alto Garage To Its Current Position: Public Relations Theory And Practice Report, USA, Australia

University UniSA
Subject Public Relations Theory And Practice


From its origins in a Palo Alto garage to its current position as one of the world’s leading technology companies, HP has grown and evolved significantly since its founding in 1939 (Hewlett-Packard, 2010). In 2005 Hewlett-Packard (HP) was named the “Most Trusted Company for Privacy in the United States” (Hewlett-Packard, 2005) by leading internet service provider TRUSTe and also by the independent researcher on privacy, data protection, and information security, Ponemon Institute. This award provided greater trust, reliability, and positive recognition by all HP publics on a worldwide scale as a dominating IT company.

Public instability for HP commenced in February 2005, whereby CEO Carly Fiorina was overthrown by the board of directors due to “HP’s erratic financial results and the pricey Compaq merger, which did not produce the results she promised” (Anonymous, 2010). This is the same year Mr. Hurd commenced as Hewlett-Packard’s new CEO (Hewlett-Packard, 2005).

With growing company success, the outlook over HP’s control of issues and crisis management has been questionable with salient publics, including concerned stakeholders (Kite, 2010). The internal affairs with HP had initiated in September 2006, when Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was “under fire for ordering an investigation into board leaks to the media” (Ace, 2010). This crisis was identified by gatekeepers as the ‘Hewlett-Packard Pre-Texting Scandal.’ Furthermore, the company’s image was further degraded with such criticism, including “Fiorina and the HP board were both ineffective and unethical … for a company long known for its excellent reputation, the pre-texting scandal marked a new ethical low.” In response to the degrading company reputation, Mr. Hurd apologized for what had happened, “pointing out that the board had lost sign of the company values” (Brown, 2010).

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After rebuilding Hewlett-Packard’s reputation, CEO Mark Hurd had successfully implemented stringent ethical policies within the company’s compliance (Rhymes, 2010). This code of ethics was yet again disrupted on August 6th, 2010, whereby Mr. Hurd resigns from his position, “after HP accused him of filing false expense reports to hide a relationship with a female marketing contractor” (Gittins, 2010). In response to this issue, HP appoints Chief Officer Cathie Lesjak as interim CEO.

With recent tension within the media, HP’s reputation is once again placed into limbo on September 8th, 2010 as the former HP CEO Mark Hurd is named a Co-President of HP’s rival business software giant ‘Oracle.’ HP initiates a civil complaint in California Superior Court in fear that “Hurd would be putting the company’s most valuable trade secrets and confidential information in peril by working at Oracle” (Smith, 2010). It is this ‘secret’ disclosure that the media is criticizing HP’s unstable response in regards to handling this specific crisis management. Such outrage over HP’s litigation against rival Oracle includes, “despite the openness, HP still will not reveal key information about the case” (Jones, 2010).

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