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Essential Aspects of Corporate Responsibility Programs
 

Bringing Out the Best in People. There is an Italian saying: "Il lavoro nobilita l'uomo, e lo rende simile alle bestie;" or "Work gives man nobility, and turns him into an animal." Attention to organizational ethics surfaces the nobility of enterprise and employee alike to achieve a genuine sense of community.

This Site sets forth a systems approach to organizational design and development. Holistic, it considers the mind, body, and spirit of those involved or affected by the organization. Interdisciplinary, it brings together insights from anthropology, psychology, sociology, political economics, sociobiology, literature, management theory and practice, science and technology, and, of course, philosophy to help leaders find and assert the balances needed to achieve organizational purposes and serve human needs. It is based upon the work of the Austrian School of Economics, especially Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

This synthesis can itself be organized into seven questions about organizational ethics. It sets forth the essential concepts, values, principles, and practices of organizational ethics, the foundation of organizational integrity. Such an organization is a "learning organization" that identifies with the world as a whole.

Organizational Ethics and Integrity.

If you want to build a ship, then don't drum up men to gather wood, give orders, and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea.

Antoine de
Saint-Exupery

Organizational ethics is a tool that shapes an organization as a community. In every organization, there is something that works well, which can serve as a foundation for significant progress toward a desired future. Organizational ethics pays special attention to the best of an organization's past and present to ignite its collective imagination of what might be. It builds from what is working well now toward where the organization and its stakeholders truly desire to go. Organizational ethics sees an organization as a community to be valued and explored. It strives to quicken and intensify existing individual capabilities and organizational capacities, extend their number and scope, organize them so that their conflicts will be harmonized, and mobilize their energies of will and intellect to bring them to self-realization. Organizational integrity is the end sought. It is a dynamic state of being and process; it both shapes and improves. It is about moving the organization toward its guiding image of the future.
 
Integrity as Learning.
The paradigm of the organization of integrity is the still-developing notion of the learning organization. At the heart of the learning organization is the belief that enormous human potential lies locked, underdeveloped and underemployed (or operating at cross-purposes), in our organizations. Though the accent to date has been on organizational "learning to learn," organizational integrity is the essence of the learning organization. more The learning organization is a true community of cooperative inquiry and action. It strives to shape its own future. It fosters the generative learning of its members. It develops, adapts, and transforms itself in appreciation of the well-formed visions, views, and expectations of all it involves or affects. It sees itself as an integral part of its world. The learning organization does all these while preserving its core purpose, values and vision of a desired future.

Outcomes of Effective Corporate Responsibility Programs. What can one expect from an effective ethics/compliance program? It should be designed to shape the organization as a community in dynamic connection with the world around it, and accomplish more specific outcomes. A recent study published in the California Management Review organized the expected outcomes this way:

  • Reduced Unethical/Illegal Behavior
  • Awareness of Ethical/Legal Issues
  • Willingness to Seek Ethical/Legal Advice
  • Willingness to Report Wrongdoing
  • Willingness to Take Bad news to Management
  • Use of Values in Judgment Processes
  • Employee Commitment to the Organization
  • Meeting external stakeholder expectations (added by EPIC)

How to Use This Site.  Organized into the answers to seven questions, it treats the dominant issues in organizational ethics today, and points the way to organizational dialogue. Begin with whatever question intrigues you most, and see how it opens your vistas.

References

These works contributed significantly to the development of the Organizational Integrity approach. Arranged by importance to the topic rather than alphabetically or chronologically, they-and other works-may be secured through this site by arrangement with Amazon.com.

Outcomes of effective ethics programs:

Trevino, Linda K., et al. "Managing Ethics and Legal Compliance: What Works and What Hurts." California Management Review 41 (1999): 131-51.

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