What makes employees decide to take a job

  1. ability to do what they do best
  2. greater work-life balance and better well-being
  3. improved stability and job security
  4. increase in income
  5. opportunity to work for a company with a great brand or reputation

– Gallup survey

The Power of Awareness


Research done by Nils Kobis shows the power of awareness. When posters with descriptive norms about bribery / anti-corruption were distributed in South Africa, the result was “during the period in which the poster was put up, participants’ perceived descriptive norms of bribery, and their own willingness to engage in bribery decreased.”

It is a great idea to distribute posters in the workplace that are descriptive norms pertaining to the business. A simple yet effective way to reduce workplace fraud, waste, and abuse. Need some ideas? Check out these posters: 1234.

ISO and Compliance


Have you browsed the ISO catalog lately? Here are just some of the standards that will help your organization’s ethics and compliance program:

ISO 19600 – Compliance Management System – Guidelines
ISO 19600:2014 provides guidance for establishing, developing, implementing, evaluating, maintaining and improving an effective and responsive compliance management system within an organization.
ISO 19600:2014 is based on the principles of good governance, proportionality, transparency and sustainability.

ISO 37001 – Anti-bribery Management System – Requirements with Guidance for Use
ISO 37001:2016 specifies requirements and provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving an anti-bribery management system. The system can be stand-alone or can be integrated into an overall management system.
ISO 37001:2016 addresses the following in relation to the organization’s activities: bribery in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors; bribery by the organization; bribery by the organization’s personnel acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit; bribery by the organization’s business associates acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit; bribery of the organization; bribery of the organization’s personnel in relation to the organization’s activities; bribery of the organization’s business associates in relation to the organization’s activities; and direct and indirect bribery (e.g. a bribe offered or accepted through or by a third party).
ISO 37001:2016 is applicable only to bribery. It sets out requirements and provides guidance for a management system designed to help an organization to prevent, detect and respond to bribery and comply with anti-bribery laws and voluntary commitments applicable to its activities.
ISO 37001:2016 does not specifically address fraud, cartels and other anti-trust/competition offences, money-laundering or other activities related to corrupt practices, although an organization can choose to extend the scope of the management system to include such activities.

ISO 31000 – Risk management
ISO 31000:2018 provides principles, framework and a process for managing risk. It can be used by any organization regardless of its size, activity or sector.
ISO 31000:2018 can help organizations increase the likelihood of achieving objectives, improve the identification of opportunities and threats and effectively allocate and use resources for risk treatment.

ISO 26000 – Guidance on Social Responsibility
ISO 26000:2010 provides guidance to all types of organizations, regardless of their size or location, on: concepts, terms and definitions related to social responsibility; the background, trends and characteristics of social responsibility; principles and practices relating to social responsibility; the core subjects and issues of social responsibility; integrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behavior throughout the organization and, through its policies and practices, within its sphere of influence; identifying and engaging with stakeholders; and communicating commitments, performance and other information related to social responsibility.
ISO 26000:2010 is intended to assist organizations in contributing to sustainable development. It is intended to encourage them to go beyond legal compliance, recognizing that compliance with law is a fundamental duty of any organization and an essential part of their social responsibility. It is intended to promote common understanding in the field of social responsibility, and to complement other instruments and initiatives for social responsibility, not to replace them.

ISO 30408 – Human Resource Management – Guidance on Human Governance
ISO 30408:2016 provides guidelines on tools, processes and practices to be put in place in order to establish, maintain and continually improve effective human governance within organizations.
ISO 30408:2016 does not address relations with trade unions or other representative bodies.

1. Denial of responsibility.
“When a crime is committed, everyone can, with some degree of plausibility, point the finger at someone else.”
“The competitive structure of the marketplace also generate the perception that they have ‘no choice’ but to violate the law.”

2. Denial of injury.
“Most white collar criminals never meet or interact with those who are harmed by their actions.”

3. Denial of the victim.
“The offender believes he is in fact playing tit-for-tat.”
This can also come from a feeling of being undercompensated.

4. Condemnation of the condemners.
“Business executives dispute the legitimacy of the law under which they are charged.”
Including questioning government motivation in bringing the charges.

5. Appeal to higher loyalties.
“I did it for my family” is one of the most popular excuses for occupational crime.
This can also mean “employees may sometimes feel that they are excused from any accusation of criminality so long as their actions were undertaken for the sake of the firm rather than for reasons of self-interest.”

6. Everyone else is doing it.
Considering illegal conduct can give an unfair competitive advantage to the perpetrator, rivals may feel pressured to follow suit.

7. Claim to entitlement.
“People point to how much ‘good’ a company does (e.g., the number of satisfied customers, happy employees, etc.) as an excusing condition for violation of law.”

Implications for business ethics:

People don’t especially commit crimes due to a lack of knowledge (of what is illegal or unethical). “They are more likely to commit crimes because they have talked themselves into believing some type of excuse for their actions, and they have found a social environment is which this sort of excuse is accepted or encouraged.”

Business leaders / ethics training must deal with these rationalizations, and create an environment in which such behavior are not accepted.

– Reference “Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective” by Joseph Heath (Journal of Business Ethics, Vol 83, No 4)


Key results from Ethics & Compliance Initiative’s Global Business Ethics Survey:

22% of employees have felt pressure to compromise standards
33% observed misconduct
59% of those that observed misconduct went on to report it
36% experienced some form of retaliation for reporting it

What it means for organizations: Invest sufficient resources to monitor behavior at every operating location and to develop ethics and compliance (E&C) programs designed around a common code of conduct. Include strategies to protect against retaliation – such as ready-access to an ethics hotline with a clear non-retaliation policy.