Posts by Eric Morehead

In The Middle of It All: New Research on Middle Managers and Ethical Behavior, Part I of 2

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We are very, very pleased to have a special discussion over the next two weeks about some very interesting new research and data about managers and ethics. We will be interviewing the principal authors of a new article just published in October, titled “Middle Managers and Corruptive Routine Translation: The Social Production of Deceptive Performance”.

As an early holiday gift, Compliance Beat is happy to provide a wide-ranging Q&A about middle managers, ethical decision-making and the intersection with compliance! Forget festive feasting and gift-giving, for compliance stalwarts this is truly a great gift: insight on a subject where there hasn’t been much research.

Join us as we speak to:

Linda K. Treviño, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behavior and Ethics in the Department of Management and Organization in the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Treviño holds a Ph.D. in management which has contributed to her unique focus on ethics as a management issue. She has published 90 articles, many in the field’s top research journals. She has also co-authored three books, an academic book on organizational ethics, another on academic integrity, and a textbook on business ethics that is in its sixth edition. In 2007, she was elected a member of the Academy of Management Fellows, a group that recognizes and honors members of the Academy of Management who have made significant contributions to the science and practice of management. Professor Treviño has taught students at all levels and has spoken to many academic and practitioner audiences. Her views on business ethics have been quoted in the press including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Business Week, and other publications and she has appeared on CNBC. Her research has focused on the impact of individual differences and ethical culture on employee behavior, ethical leadership, speaking up about ethical issues, and the role of values in organizations among other topics. She maintains an active research program with current research that includes a focus on how scandal affects leaders and organizations, moral advocacy in ethical decision making groups and emotions in ethical decision making. Ethisphere named her one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics in 2015.

And:

Niki den Nieuwenboer, an assistant professor of organizational behavior and business ethics at the University of Kansas. She holds a PhD in Management from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on understanding unethical behavior in the workplace. This includes work on social status drives and unethical behavior, the role of social structure in moral disengagement, and work on the identity and legitimacy challenges that ethics and compliance officers face in fulfilling the ethics role. More recently, Niki has also started a project to examine the challenges that dyslectics face in the workplace, and how they deal with those.
Niki has published in Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Annual Review of Psychology, and in the Journal of Business Ethics, and recently won the Best Business Ethics Paper Award, sponsored by the Journal of Business Ethics, of the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Niki worked for KPMG Forensic in Brussels, Belgium, as a consultant in ethics management.

Finally, tune in next week for the conclusion of this interesting interview.

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Revisiting Our 2017 Trend Predictions

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Closing the loop on some trends we thought might be important back in January of 2017.

First, we all had (and still have) deregulation on our minds. So far, while there has been a lot of discussion about the possible effects of deregulation, it’s fair to say that compliance issues are still being driven by regulatory enforcement and there does not seem to be any fundamental difference to how (and how frequently) regulations are being enforced. As we discussed back in January, a real danger exists that some might think that all the talk about deregulation somehow means that there is to be less focus on compliance at organizations. Eric notes that whatever happens with regulators, organizations still need to hold the line on their values and their internal expectations.

Second, we talked back in January about reputational risk and, in particular, the impact of social media use on reputational risk. The intersection of compliance and these issues is still top of mind and key risk for many organizations.

Third, we certainly see that the risk-based approach to compliance remains an important and necessary piece of the puzzle. In 2017 we saw steps forward, including the February 2017 Guidance from the Department of Justice, which have helped organizations better contemplate what makes a risk-based program for their organization. We should expect that there will continue to further developments on this front as we move forward.

Looking forward to tracking these trends, and others, as we head into a New Year!

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What Do You Do To Overcome a Significant Cultural Issue?

This time Eric addresses what to do in those extreme situations where there are significant or serious cultural issues.

First, we talk about getting by-in and support of leadership for your efforts. It’s hard to imagine overcoming significant issues if there is no support from leadership in the organization. Buy-in also includes getting the operational management of the organization to be on board.

Second, we must have a plan, or a set of goals — even if they are broad and unsophisticated to begin with. A plan of attack is crucial. Need something to act on and it needs to be realistic.

Third, we must be prepared to ask a lot of questions, mine the data and information, and listen to what the stakeholders have to say. It’s very important to make sure you understand what’s really going on. Listening is key to getting to the heart of the matter. Use data and tools that are available to make sure you understand what happened and what can be done to resolve the issue.

Fourth, if you can’t get buy-in, if your plan is not being implemented and you cannot gather data and ask questions then you may have to consider what your options are — and you may have to consider exit as an option when reasonable efforts are thwarted.

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Recent US Department of Justice Commentary and the Impact on Compliance

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What does the Deputy Attorney General’s recent comments about various Department memorandum and informal statements mean for compliance and ethics. For more information on the DAG’s October statement, you can review this excellent commentary.

The statement suggests that many of the DOJ memos discussing corporate prosecutions we are familiar with may be consolidated (or revoked). The DAG has suggested all commentary should be within the US Attorney’s Manual. But Eric points out that the process of updating the USAM may take some time. There may also be some opportunity for the community to make its opinions known about any changes or additions before the process is finished.

The bottom line is that the compliance and ethics community should pay attention to this process and any possible changes.

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Reflecting on the SCCE’s Compliance and Ethics Institute

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This time Eric reflects on the annual SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute in Las Vegas.

While there are certainly other compliance and ethics events, the size and scope of the CEI is impressive and we noted three themes this year that apply not to just CEI, but the profession in general.

First, growth — and all that brings — including challenges. What does this mean and how does that apply to the role of compliance?

Second, we face a lot of uncertainty. But while organizations face a lot of regulatory uncertainty, and uncertainty generally, Eric talks about the resolve he sees with organizations moving forward with their compliance programs and their focus on ethical culture.

And finally, Eric talks about change. Changes in the profession abound and that means new expectations and best practices. The makeup of the profession, technological change and new ideas all mean that we have seen, and will continue to see, massive changes.

Eric also talks about the different topics discussed and resources that were on display in Las Vegas. Sessions covered a lot of ground and included a lot of practical information. An example would be several topical sessions on using social media, for example.

Also, we’d like to have you join us for our free webinar on building a risk-based program and you can sign up here.

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