Yesterday, the Times ran a story called "At World’s Largest Hedge Fund, Sex, Fear and Video Surveillance." The article was about a Bridgewater Associates employee who claimed his superior sexually harassed him but also about the culture of the Westport hedge fund. Bridgewater did not like it and the result is 1,124 word rebuttal over at LinkedIn called "The New York Times Story is a Distortion of Reality," written by founder Ray Dalio.
- On not being able to truly understand Bridgewater unless you've read a psychologist's assessment of the culture: "To understand the background of this story, you should know that the New York Times reporters never made a serious attempt to understand how we operate. Instead they intentionally strung together a series of misleading "facts" in ways they felt would create the most sensationalistic story. If you want to see an accurate portrayal of Bridgewater, we suggest that you read examinations of Bridgewater written by two independent organizational psychologists and a nationally-renowned management researcher. (See An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan; Learn or Die by Edward Hess; and Originals by Adam Grant.)"
- On not being a cauldron of fear and intimidation: "Rather than being the “‘cauldron of fear and intimidation’” the New York Times portrayed us as, Bridgewater is exactly the opposite. Bridgewater is well known for giving employees the right to speak up, especially about problems, and to make sense of things for themselves. Everyone is encouraged to bring problems to the surface in whatever ways they deem to be most appropriate. To be more specific, our employees typically report their business problems and ideas in real time through a public “issue log” and a company-wide survey that is administered quarterly. More sensitive matters are reported through an anonymous “complaint line,” and all employees have access to an Employee Relations team charged with being a closed, confidential outlet outside of the management chain for handling issues of a personal nature."
- On why taping and distributing videos of meetings is a good thing: "The New York Times portrayed our taping of meetings as creating “an atmosphere of constant surveillance . . . that silence[s] employees who do not fit the mold.” It is well known that Bridgewater’s taping of meetings is instead done to enable employees to hear virtually all discussions happening at the firm for themselves. We make these tapes available to employees because we believe strongly that in order to have a real idea meritocracy, people need to see and hear things for themselves rather than through the spin of others. We also believe that bad things happen behind closed doors so that such transparency is healthy."
- On people loving Bridgewater: "Many of our employees say they wouldn't want to work anywhere else because they so appreciate our unique idea meritocracy in which meaningful work and meaningful relationships are pursued through radical truth and transparency. The New York Times article doesn’t square with common sense. If Bridgewater was really as bad as the New York Times describes, then why would anyone want to work here?"
- On why Bridgewater never settles: "Concerning legal matters, because Bridgewater is culturally committed to the pursuit of truth, we have always had a strong preference to not “settle” claims but rather to be judged by the appropriate legal or regulatory system, even though that is not the expedient thing to do. Like many organizations, we encounter frivolous claims made in an effort to extract financial gain. Most companies prefer to settle them because it saves time and legal costs—and avoids the sort of distorted publicity that we are now encountering. We choose to contest them instead."