Organizational Ethics

June 17, 2009


Following the Leader
Smeal College of Business,
The Pennsylvania State University
May 2011
Executive-level leaders greatly influence the ethical culture within an organization and the thinking of the high-level employees who work for them. They are strategic leaders who form organizational policies and procedures that set the ethical tone within a company but little is known about why some executives are more likely to be perceived as ethical leaders than others.

Why Small Organizations Need Our Help
Leslie Altizer
Ethics Resource Center 2003
ERC Research Analyst Leslie Altizer focuses on four elements of an ethics program and the differences that the NBES found between large and small organization.

Why Measure Ethical Effectiveness
Charles Ruthford
Why measure the effectiveness of an ethics and compliance program? This author says two easons jump to mind: it's good business practice and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines say you should.

What The Schools Can Teach Us About Nurturing Values
Pat Harned and Kathyrn Sutliff
Ethikos 2003
By looking at the successes and failures of the educational world's efforts to impart values and nurture ethical behavior, business can discover which strategies work and which do not. 

The Enron Effect: The American Public’s Hostile Attitudes Toward Top Business Managers
Humphrey Taylor
Harris Interactive 2002
According to a recent poll, 'the corporate scandals -- from Enron and WorldCom to Global Crossing and Adelphia -- have had a big impact on public attitudes toward top business managers, in general, not just those in the companies under investigation.' 

The Bottom Line is Integrity
Stuart Gilman
Advances the view that while rules and regulations may well deter corruption in the short term, the way to affect change in the long term is to concentrate on instilling integrity. Offers a few practical suggestions on promoting ethical behavior.

TEOCO Corporation: Successful Ethics in a Small Company
Allison Pendell-Jones
Ethics Resource Center 2005
TEOCO Corporation has not only enjoyed financial success, but has received accolades from the business ethics community. This article takes a look at some of the policies that set TEOCO apart and suggests possible lessons for other small companies.

Ten Writing Tips for Creating an Effective Code of Conduct
Jerry Brown
Advice to guide you in the actual writing of your company code. But first, when faced with the reality of writing about abstract concepts rather than the physical world think in terms of values, beliefs and expectations rather than facts. 

Ten Principles of Highly Ethical Business Leaders
List of ten characteristics of highly ethical business leaders. 

Specific Points for a Director to Examine In Determining The Effectiveness Of An Ethics Program
Frank Navran
Ethics Resource Center 2003
Prepared as a sidebar to an article on Sarbanes-Oxley and ethics codes, this lists process and culture questions to be considered by directors trying to evaluate the effectiveness of ethics programs.

Sarbanes-Oxley: When Accountability Comes Knocking
Berit M. Lakey
Discusses the key points of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which provisions apply now to nonprofits, and how nonprofits can adopt or adapt the other provisions to establish, maintain - or restore -- public trust in a nonprofit organization

Next Steps: Designing an Outcomes-based Ethics and Compliance Program Evaluation
Kenneth W. Johnson
Part 4 of a series. Explores in some detail how an organization might approach evaluating its ethics and compliance program.

By Kenneth W. Johnson,

Principal Consultant

Ethics Resource Center

If Only CEO Meant Chief Ethical Officer
Eric Wahlgren
Business Week 2002
Considers what it is about the character of today's corporate chieftains that has led them into CEO-gate. Greed, hypercompetitiveness, isolation, and more have pushed too many top execs to cross the line without fear of consequences. 

Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Key Points and Profound Changes
Kenneth W. Johnson
Part 1 of a series. Highlights new key terms used in the amended FSGO and describes four profound changes to the definition and practice of an effective program.

Kenneth Johnson is Director of the Ethics & Policy Integration Centre (EPIC) and Adjunct Senior Consultant to the Ethics Resource Center.

Eye on Ethics
Holly Dolezalek
This article is not available full text on the ERC site.
You may be able to locate it online or oWhen done well, ethics training can contribute to your organization's health and stability. This article, reprinted with permission from the November 2003 issue of Training magazine, offers some tips from the experts. 

Ethical Conflicts in Ethical Companies
Frank Navran
Describes some of the causes of destructive ethical conflict and guides organizations through the process of achieving ethical congruence -- the organizational state where values, behaviors and perceptions are aligned


This article suggests that employees in organizations often feel compelled to engage in counterproductive and unethical actions as the result of conflict between their perceptions of the organization's requirements, expectations or actions and their (the employees') personal values. These employee behaviors are often ignored by management because of the belief that nothing can be done to prevent them.

Employees in every segment of business, industry and government have developed their own unique responses to these ethical conflicts. Those responses negatively impact both the organizations' effectiveness and the employees' satisfaction. The causes, costs and solutions to these ethical conflicts are described.

Presented to the Tenth Annual International Organization Development Congress, Mexico City, Mexico, May, 1991.

Enterprise Risk Management: The COSO Framework
Colleen Sayther-Cunninham
Defines enterprise risk management, identifies the components of the COSO Enterprise Risk Management Framework and discusses the importance of having enterprise risk management.

Do the Right Thing
Jennifer J. Salopek
ASTD 2001
Values and ethics can affect your bottom line more than you might think. Article cites the 2000 NBES and quotes Frank Navran extensively on organizational values, ethics and codes of conduct.

Developing a Code of Conduct for a Corporate Board of Directors: A Roadmap
Frank Navran
Ethics Resource Center 2002
Codes of conduct for corporate boards outline a set of fundamental principles, whether or not they are the basis for certain operational or legal requirements or prohibitions. This article discusses why as well as how to develop such a code.

Corporate Ethics: Right Makes Might
Heesun Wee
Business Week 2000
Avoiding scandal isn't the only reason to observe a stringent code of conduct. Doing the right thing also generates more tangible dividends. Stuart Gilman, ERC President, says that at Enron, ethics was a piece of paper with 3 p's — print, post and pray.

Corporate Ethics and Sarbanes-Oxley
Frank Navran and Edward L. Pittman
Wall Street Lawyer 2003
Gives an overview of codes of ethics and the issues to consider in implementing the spirit and the letter of the new ethics disclosure rules written pursuant to Section 406 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Compliance and Crisis Management: Why It Pays to be Prepared
Andrea Bonime-Blanc, Senior Vice President and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Bertelsmann, Inc.
Discusses a number of reasons that someone in the compliance function might get involved in emergency planning and includes a list of action items to keep in mind for a possible future crisis.

The Intersection of Health Care and Organizational Ethics
Cheryl Raven
Ethics Resource Center 2002
Discusses the overlap between organizational ethics and health care ethics and the ways in which those interested in health care ethics can learn from the experiences in the field of organizational ethics. 

Update From a Former Student Ethics Office President
Katlyn Donohue
Ethics Resource Center 2004
The author, an ERC intern, served as the first Student Ethics Office President at Lake Braddock Secondary School. This series will track the impact of that experience as she progresses through college and into the working world.

No Virginia, There Is No Such Thing as Independence
Frank Navran
Ethics Resource Center 2003
ERC Principal Consultant Frank Navran considers the issues of independence, conflict of interests, individualism and transparency, using Boards of Directors and auditors as timely examples. 

Farewell to the Prime Directive?
Jack Marshall
ProEthics, Ltd. 2002
Attorney Jack Marshall, President of ProEthics, Ltd.,, expresses his view about the impact of recent actions on the ethics of the legal profession and, specifically, on the duty of an attorney to keep a client's confidences.

Letter to the Editor on Government Ethics
The Honorable Stephen D. Potts
Ethics Resource Center 2002
ERC Fellows chair Stephen Potts responds to the 9/29 David Broder column on the financial disclosure and confirmation process ("What Price Ethics?"), noting that "The cost of ethics regulation might be expensive, but the result is something to be valued." 

Workplace Behavior: The route of all evil
Matthew Crowley
Las Vegas Review Journal 2002
Amid the corporate scandals, the University of Las Vegas has boosted its efforts to help students skirt ethical pitfalls. With ethics so hot, Richard Flaherty, dean of UNLV's College of Business, said he wanted all faculty to teach and discuss it.

Boards of Directors Must Commit to Business’s New Moral Compass
Frank Vogl
Discusses two key structural reforms for improving the ethics of Boards and advocates the implementation of a six-point ethics framework.

Does the Government Do Anything Efficiently? The Answer is a Resounding, “Yes!
Jerry Brown
Ethics Resource Center / Ethics Today 2003's objective is to provide a free service enabling the global community to easily and rapidly find U.S. government information that has been posted on the Internet. ERC's Jerry Brown takes a look at whether and how the site meets its promises. 

Proposed Standards and Business School Responsibilities
ERC Fellows
Ethics Resource Center 2003
In May 2003, the ERC Fellows issued a statement expressing their strong view that business ethics must be made an essential part of the curriculum of schools of business.

An Ethics Code Can't Replace a Backbone
Jeffrey L. Seglin
New York Times 2002
Outlining inappropriate behavior in a code to avoid future problems can be a healthy response to an ethics problem. But if the code is 'inconsistent with the culture as employees perceive it, then it appears to be only window dressing and hypocritical.'

Beyond Reproach: The Incumbent’s Bind
Stuart Gilman
Government Services Insider 2004
For government contractors, inside information is a disaster waiting to happen. Depending on the knowledge gained, you could be financially punished under the terms of the contract, found civilly liable, lose the contract or be debarred.

Office culture may determine how workers exercise ethics, experts say
Matthew Crowley
Las Vegas Review Journal 2002
UNLV business students discuss ethics as part of the curriculum. Whether the lessons last depends on core values taught by parents and reinforced by schooling said Pat Harned (ERC). Craig Walton (UNLV) said workplace systems must support ethical behavior. 

Accounting for Enron
Robert J. Bliwise
Duke Magazine 2002
Duke Law professor James D. Cox scrutinizes the Enron scandal--the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history—and the failures of the accounting profession to provide fair warning of the company's problems.

Integrating Applied Ethics and Social Responsibility
Kenneth W. Johnson
Adapted from an article that first appeared in Ethical Management, this article makes the case for taking a systems approach to ethics and policy, if we are to achieve “sustainability.” 

Bioethics (Guest Column for Ethics Today)
Vincent Guss, Ethics Consultant and Director of Pastoral Care, Inova Alexandria Hospital
An introduction to bioethics -- a type of applied ethics that includes deliberation by all parties significantly affected by health care professionals, involving the perspectives and participation of all professionals representing pertinent disciplines. 

Beyond Reproach: The Case of the Job-hunting Client
Stuart Gilman
Government Services Insider 2004
The procurement and contracting process requires a level playing field as well as an open, clear process. Your competitive advantage is your product, your price and your reputation. 


What to Do After Your Code of Conduct is Written
ERC Staff
Ethics Resource Center 2003
Taken from the ERC's "Creating a Workable Company Code of Conduct." Focuses on what an organization should do after the code is written to start meeting the requirements for the effective communication of organizational ethics standards.

The Role of Leadership in Organizational Integrity and Five Modes of Ethical Leadership
Ken Johnson
Discusses the components and modes of ethical leadership, and the integration of the two. Also includes a chart showing six styles of ethical leadership and discusses when they might be used.

Seven Steps For Changing The Ethical Culture Of An Organization
Frank Navran
Ethics Resource Center 2003
Explains seven steps that an organization, especially one facing ethical concerns, can take to change its culture to one that promotes and rewards ethical behavior

Setting the Stage for Modeling Ethical Behavior
Jerrry Brown
Ethics Resource Center 2003
Modeling is a powerful leadership strategy where you show your employees through your own behavior how you want them to behave with others. This article includes some practical tips for modeling ethical conduct.

Public Sector Transparency and Accountability: Making it Happen
Dr. J.R. Breton
World Affairs Social Audit 2000
In this article, Dr. Breton details the different aspects of a Social Audit (AKA Ethical Audit, AKA Monitoring), and its benefits (not only preventing lawsuits and boycotts, but also increasing productivity, market shares and long term investment).

Conflicts of Interest: Balancing Appearances, Intentions and Values
Stuart C. Gilman, Ph.D., with Joshua Joseph and Cheryl L. Raven
Ethics Resource Center 2002
Prepared for the April 2002 OECD meeting, this paper attempts to refine the conflict of interest concept by looking at its various facets and highlighting some of the challenges in its application to pragmatic, day-to-day activities.

Prepared for the OECD Meeting "Conflicts of Interest: Ensuring Accountability and Transparency in the Public Service," 22-23 April 2002, Paris, France

Conflicts of Interest: Brian Sears, Director, Ethics Awareness, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Poses three scenarios in which an employee might create an actual or perceived conflict of interest and examines the questions and concerns that might arise in each.

Conflicts of Interest: Norm Augustine
Co-Chairman of the National Institutes of Health Blue Ribbon Panel on Conflict of Interest Policies discusses how the panel resolved difficult issues involving colliding principles as they reviewed the NIH conflicts of interest policies.