1. Was the CNET story sufficient justification for the HP board’s actions? Why or why not?
2. HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn defended the actions of the board by arguing that HP’s higher standards of corporate integrity justified such aggressive actions as pretexting. Does its higher standards make the behavior of the board more or less ethical? Explain.
3. Does the fact that HP’s legal advisers approved the actions of Dunn and her board beforehand clear them of all responsibility in this case? Why or why not?
4. Does pretexting match the founding principles of “The HP Way”?
5. The board voted to dismiss Patricia Dunn in light of her indictment—was that the right decision? Why or why not?
On January 23, 2006, journalists Dawn Kawamoto and Tom Krazit, from the technology news organization CNET, published an article on computer maker Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) strategic plans that prompted the HP board of directors, led by Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, to launch an ill-fated investigation into what they saw as a serious breach of corporate security through leaks to the media—apparently from one of their own board members. CNET’s source was former director George Keyworth, but before that information could be uncovered, the HP board would choose to pursue a path of unprecedented corporate arrogance and highly questionable business practices.