Archive for the ‘Business Ethics’ Category

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)


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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.

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Wow! What a difference an effective ethics and compliance program makes! According to ERC’s ‘The State of Ethics in Large Companies‘ report, “large companies with effective programs face half of the rules violations as those without effective programs.” And “87% who observe violations at large companies with effective programs report those violations for action by higher ups, compared to just 32% who report wrongdoing when programs are lacking.”

MYECCHO makes getting an Ethics Hotline affordable for smaller companies too!

Here’s a look at 2014 reporting stats culled from our client and industry Ethics Hotlines:
~1 report per 100 employees
~3/4 of reports are HR related
~3/5 of reports are anonymous
~2/5 of reports result in substantial action
~1 month closure time for reports

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More great Dilbert comics.

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Defense mechanisms, in psychology lingo, are strategies we use to “cope with reality.”
George Vaillant has identified a range of mechanisms, spanning from the unhealthy (such as denial and distortion) to mature. When reacting to circumstances at work, do you use these healthy strategies?
Sublimation: transformation of negative emotions into positive actions or behavior
Suppression: the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality
Altruism: putting the needs of others before your own with no expectation of payback
Humor: overt expression of feelings without personal discomfort and without unpleasant effect on others

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When employees feel included at work, they exhibit a stronger work ethic and are more innovative.
(This is because when employees feel included they feel a sense of both belongingness and uniqueness – two elements of human fulfillment.)
Managers help employees feel “included” when they:
1) are humble – learn from criticism and admit mistakes
2) empower employees – to learn and develop
3) are courageous – consider greater good over personal gain
4) hold employees responsible for results.

See Catalyst study: catalyst.org/knowledge/inclusive-leadership-view-six-countries.

Rockwell Automation suggests four ways for managers to practice humility:
1) share your mistakes as teachable moments
2) engage in dialogue, not debates
3) embrace uncertainty / admit not having all the answers
4) role model being a “follower” / let others lead.

See HBR article: blogs.hbr.org/2014/05/the-best-leaders-are-humble-leaders.

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In Strong Ethical Cultures…

Management and supervisors:
*Communicate ethics as a priority
*Set a good example of ethical conduct
*Keep commitments
*Provide information about what is going on
*Support following organizational standards

*Consider ethics in making decisions
*Talk about ethics in the work we do
*Set a good example of ethical conduct
*Support following organizational standards

source: Eighth National Business Ethics Survey (NBES)

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