Compliance is based on a set of rules and plans to manage the risks of corruption. The latter is specific to each company and to the culture in which it evolves.
This includes deontology, as well as collective ethics, decided by each governance.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a manager or collaborators who have to make quick decisions. They will find themselves at a crossroads between the theoretical rules enacted by the company, the ethics in force, their own ethics and, above all, their personal goals of productivity and profitability.
There is always a more or less large gap between theory and reality, especially in times when nothing is immutable and everything is in perpetual movement.
In terms of compliance, nothing is all white or all black. There is also a so-called « grey area » where the human is confronted with his own choices according to his personal ethics. What I had already pointed out in the ticket entitled ‘ Implanting a real risk culture within entities ‘, the link of which appears under this post under the heading « To be consulted also ».
In the extension of my comment, I invite you to read the post of Marc Le ménestrel professor of corporate governance and sustainability at INSEAD that I consider interesting to highlight.
Having honest, adult conversations about corruption requires accepting that none of us is ethically pure.
These days, I sometimes begin my classes on corruption with an unusual admission. I announce to my students – who may be judges, police officers, military investigators, bureaucrats or any other variety of public official – that corruption is not a problem removed from me. I am corrupted too.
This is only partly a gesture of humility. It is also my attempt to initiate a dialogue on business ethics that is honest, for a change. The common thing to do when the subject of ethics comes up is to grandstand and make sweeping moral declarations, as though combating corruption were simply a matter of finding the “bad”people in an organisation, agency, justice system, etc.
But corruption has always existed and goes on everywhere. It is indeed very likely that it will always exist. Why not also in myself? Of course, I can avoid thinking about it. Even more convenient, I can choose or invent a definition of corruption that does not include my actions. In doing so, however, I am indulging a self-protective fantasy in which corruption has lost some of its most valuable meaning.
Most of us are very uncomfortable when confronted with the truth of our unethical behaviours. Since we tend to think in exclusive categories, we fear being bad because we think it implies we are not good. However, the truth is that ethics is a grey zone. Each one of us is both good and bad. We are not saints.
In my experience, the more I know the extent to which I am corrupted, the better I am at navigating the grey zone of my own ethics. Finding moral orientation in the grey zone sometimes entails resisting my own imperfections and striving for something higher. At other times, it is a matter of accepting some of my own “badness” so that I can keep my attention focused on the real world, on things as they actually are.
It can be difficult to determine what to resist and what to accept. Here are three ideas that I have found useful in my moral and ethical decision making.
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