According to Jean-François Manzoni, Professor of Management Practice at INSEAD, individuals constantly over-estimate just how ethical they are, and how ethical their friends and colleagues are.
Sometimes ethical problems and integrity breaches are not about fear or greed, just ignorance about the ethics of what they are doing, he suggests. Apparently, academic and management research supports this theory. No surprises there.
This all sounds very logical to me. We've all heard colleagues, or our ourselves, over estimating our ability to manage trade offs.
I usually prefer to believe in cock-up over conspiracy any day.
Below is a four minute video from Jean-François Manzoni on some of the solutions.
These include understanding attitudes to issues and cultures that affect ethical or integity-based decision making.
But also modifying and (re)shaping individual behaviours using repitition over time, i.e. years for non-trivial change.
This works, says Jean-François Manzoni, by activating a series of levers, often under influence of senior executives:
1) Considering organisational structures
2) Analysing management processes that are in place
3) Incentives and KPIs
4) Top management behaviour
5) Information that is available to employees
6) Capabilities of the indivuals in the organisation to make decisions
These levers can send very coherent, consistent signals over a long period of time and remain the key to embedding integrity.
No easy solutions in sight.
Who says corporate responsibility professionals will one day be out of the job?
No chance, given the complexity of all this.
In the case you can't see the video below, here's the link.
For training/advice on how to make this happen, take a look here.
Here's a meeting where we'll be discussing these issues in depth in May.
Here's a report on how companies put these into action.