Salesforce’s Hawaii obsession provokes debate over appropriation

Marc Benioff has suffused Salesforce with the “Aloha spirit,” which guides everything from corporate values to office decor. But now, in the age of heightened workplace sensitivity, some employees are starting to debate whether the obsession is honoring a culture — or cultural appropriation.
New employees are adorned with a lei and welcomed into the “ohana” — the Hawaiian word for family. Maybe they’ll have a meeting in conference rooms Maka Launa or Hala Kahiki. And at the end of the week they can join many of the other nearly 30,000 employees in wearing Hawaiian shirts, because every Friday is “Aloha Shirt Day.” After reaching milestones for years of service, they could be rewarded with a glass trophy in the shape of a surfboard.