Why Corporate Ethics Statements Don’t Work

By    Article

“Every company of any size introduced an Ethics Statement a decade or more ago. In too many cases, they’re just words buried deep on the company website. …

Most of us in corporate America are so steeped in the “win at any cost” mindset. We’ve grown up in the culture of competing to win, taking no prisoners, and making the bold move, no matter where it sits on the ethical borderline. Many of us have had our knuckles rapped for being insufficiently risk-taking or for holding the line on ethical issues.

The hardest thing I know for a corporate salaryman (or woman) to do is to tell the boss when she or he is wrong. Writing the formal Ethics Statement is the easy part. Listening to employees, calling attention to squirrelly practices, and sounding the alarm when the company is ethically off-kilter are the hard things to do. We should be making those easy and risk-free, not terrifying and career-ending.”

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