Email Scandal at Pricewaterhousecoopers

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Email Communication at PriceWaterHouseCoopers


Table of Contents

Page 3. Email scandal at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Page 4. Issues this event caused for PricewaterhouseCoopers

Page 9. Recommendations for PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Page 12. Bibliography

Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) is one of the worlds biggest accountancy firms. It is a multi-award winning business and it is the largest professional services provider here in Ireland, employing 1,900 staff within its seven locations (Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Cork, Waterford and Wexford).

PwC is a business that is known for its high technical competence and has an outstanding reputation for professionalism. “First and foremost, PwC's reputation as being the best in the audit industry is true - I haven't seen a company with such strict attention to details and training that reinforces it over and over again. The peers are fantastic to work with - almost everybody is a team player, knowledgeable, and knows what they are doing, so you can rely on them to do good work. Training is about as good as there is in any industry, with strong online coursework, annual required training at different locations” PWC Audit Associate (2008).

Email scandal at PricewaterhouseCoopers
It is clear that PwC is a highly respected firm both internally and externally, and has a high standard for its professionalism when dealing with clients, and for the quality of training it provides to its employees. PwC has had a pristine status in the global business environment, but on November 11th 2010 news broke of an inappropriate email that circulated within the company and soon went viral, spreading globally.

The email began by circulating amongst 17 of the company’s male staff showing pictures of 13 of the firms newest female recruits. The pictures were arranged in a rating system, rating the women in order of attractiveness (see Fig.1). One employee replied, "Great work." and made a remark about how he had "reservations" about one of the girls pictured. In another response, an employee uses a vulgar term to refer to the group. Another recipient replied, telling the "lads" involved that he had looped in a few more people and "also departments." Sullivan,L(2010) And soon enough, the email began circulating among countless firms around Ireland and eventually attracted the attention of the media.

Fig. 1 (McInerney,

Issues this event caused for PricewaterhouseCoopers

The Email Abuse article ( explains that “Email is an excellent communication tool and has revolutionized the way in which we communicate with each other. However, it can also waste a lot of precious time, especially in the workplace environment”. Most big companies including PWC have policies and procedures in place that outlines internet and email usage. As a rule, in the working environment, email should strictly be used for workplace communications. Unfortunately, email misuse can still happen and waste a lot of productive time and cause a range of issues for a business.

PWC utilize a strategy (Fig.2) called “Governance, Risk and Compliance” which helps the company clarify factors which directly influence internal management decisions, employee conformity to those decisions, and compliance with company policies and procedures, as well as external environmental factors which affect the business.

Fig.2 (,Governance, Risk and Compliance 2006)

Outlined below are a number of problems facing PWC, and by using the above diagram in fig.2 Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) we can deduce some further issues this email presented for the business:

Ethical scandals: It may not be ethically wrong in today’s society for men and also women to rate each other according to attractiveness but within the workplace this kind of sexual objectification can seriously undermine staff moral and lead to women underperforming, as a...
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