Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks – November 6, 2014



Avoiding the Next Madoff Scandal: Why an Ethical Education is Critical

From John Sullivan of ThinkAdvisor, writing for LifeHealth Pro:

Running through this week’s roster of “brokers behaving badly” was an exercise in what’s-old-is-new. It brought to mind a particularly funny piece that former Daily Show with John Stewart correspondent John Oliver had on the heels of the Bernie Madoff scandal.

Taking on the age-old question of whether or not ethics can be taught, Oliver brought a handful of bright-eyed business students to a New York City jail in an effort to scare them straight. It doesn’t go well, and the students end up teaching an absolutely terrifying inmate about securitizing risk, questionable credit practices and so many other financial services skeletons that were exposed by 2008. To Oliver’s mock-horror, the inmate applies the lessons to the challenges of prison life and goes merrily on his way. Read more

Other Featured Picks of the Week

Managers’ Ethics Linked to Better Performance

From the Chartered Management Institute:

Winning hearts and minds is not just an empty strap line: who cares, wins, according to a new research report published today by CMI (the Chartered Management Institute) and MoralDNA™. The research shows that higher scores for managers’ ethics are linked to higher performance across eleven key indicators, including management effectiveness, customer satisfaction and employee engagement. But, the report also warns that poor ethical behaviour is seen as a major challenge for large employers and the public sector. Read more

What Makes Integrity Such a Special Value?

Dough Eatwell, Co-founder of Consilient Inc.:

When it comes to organizational values, it seems that integrity is the poster child, the go-to, the motherhood and apple pie, the essential ingredient. In a recent study[1] conducted by Consilient Inc., integrity was found to be included in the core value statements and codes of conduct of about two-thirds of the world’s leading organizations. One has to ask why? What is it about integrity that makes it so prominent in the common language of business? Read more

Plagiarism: Why Some Smart People Do Some Very Stupid Things

Gael O’Brien writing for Business Ethics:

The consequence of plagiarism is like a time-released capsule imploding at a vulnerable moment in a career.

However, this threat hasn’t been much of a deterrent because smart people have done some remarkably stupid things. Honor codes, threat of job loss, boards imposing financial penalties,  books or articles pulled, degrees revoked, or downward shifts in public opinion haven’t stopped the age-old tendency of all too many to present someone else’s ideas as their own.

While it is a perennial problem in theses, dissertations, articles, commencement addresses and campaign speeches, the problem can take on massive proportion affecting a culture as in “Plague of plagiarism tarnishes South Korea’s credibility” reported this month  (affecting businessmen and politicians) or “Another Month, Another German Plagiarism Scandal” (affecting high level government officials). In both countries, a too-common response to the pressure to get highly-valued advanced degrees is using idea theft as a short cut.) Read more

The Important Distinction Between Ethics and Compliance

Michael Volkov, writing for JD Supra:

I know that I can be a stickler for details sometimes. Ask my children. Ask my wife.
So, when it comes to compliance, I repeat myself often when I remind everyone: it is ethics and compliance, not just compliance.

Let’s be honest – it is more than mouthful to say chief ethics and compliance officer, as opposed to just chief compliance officer. But as I often say, ethics is the key. Why?

Legal compliance is one thing; code of conduct compliance is another; and ethical compliance is even another level above. The consideration of ethics as a fundamental value to a company elevates everyone’s performance. An ethical focus is more than just legal compliance – can we engage in the conduct without creating significant legal risks? Instead, an ethical focus turns to an important consideration: while the conduct may be legal, is it ethical? Is the conduct consistent with our corporate values and something we want to promote within the company? Read more

If you are not yet a subscriber to the weekly business ethics email, click here to sign up for the free news and information delivered to you weekly.