THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON TO be learned from 2014 regarding ethics and compliance is that "culture (still) trumps compliance." That's according to Ed Petry, former head of the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association (ECOA) and lead author of "Top Ten Ethics & Compliance Predictions and Recommendations for 2015," a white paper he wrote with colleagues at NAVEX Global, an ethics and compliance services firm. The paper is based on input from ethics and compliance professionals at NAVEX's client companies and is intended primarily for ethics and compliance officers, but the information is relevant for management accountants as well.
Several of the most notable ethics failures of 2014 involved problems with organizational culture. Management at General Motors "lost track of the importance of listening to employees" and had to recall millions of vehicles at considerable cost and loss of reputation. The sports world was rocked with conduct scandals in football and basketball while charges of corruption were made at FIFA, the international governing body for soccer. A "corrosive culture" was said to cause cheating at the Veterans Administration, and "a culture of silence" contributed to embarrassing breaches of security at the Secret Service. The last two incidents foster attitudes of mistrust of government and hinder its efforts. And at several elite universities and colleges, a culture of cover-ups and failure to take appropriate action in cases of reported sexual assaults has brought increased attention and outcry.
Petry's paper cites relatively new factors affecting...
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