While the press is hubbubbing over a Harvard teenager who spun a bunch of other people's novels into her own bestseller, a much more interesting and important plagiarism case is happening at Raytheon, where the defense contractor's board has penalized the CEO by what could amount to a million bucks, while still praising his leadership.
It seems that CEO Bill Swanson had been publishing and assuming credit for a pamphlet called Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, a compendium of digestible platitudes that Business 2.0, in its regrettable cover story last July, called "The CEO's Secret Handbook."
Swanson, however, apparently ripped off much of "his" rules from a 1944 book called The Unwritten Laws of Engineering.
Here's the mindfuck: How does someone plagiarize material that's "unwritten"?
And here's the cynical failure of the American capitalist system: Raytheon is one of those companies whose CEOs get to be their own bosses as Chairmen of the Board. So that means that in spite of this profound lapse of professional judgment, the Board affirmed that "it feels strongly [the egregious theft] should not overshadow Mr. Swanson's extraordinary vision and performance in leading this company during the past three years. We continue to have full confidence in Mr. Swanson's leadership, which we reaffirmed to him today."
Plagiarism: Too damaging to keep you in college, not damaging enough to keep you from running a $20 billion company.