Wake-up call on ethics should spur action Poll Results
A bill to reform liquor licenses in New Jersey:
IT seeMs ThaT a day does not pass when pany’s reputation if made public. Things get
Corner Office 3.4%
there isn’t a report of real or perceived ethi- even worse when we face an economic crisis
cal misconduct reported in the media and, it and companies implement recessionary tactics, Have a hard-hitting stance on a New Jersey
comes from all sectors — business, government such as layoffs and benefits reductions. business issue? If you are a business or 17.9%
and nonprofit orga- Making matters worse, nearly half of sur- policy leader with a strong opinion, we
nizations. recent vey respondents lack confidence that they will want to hear from you. Please send op-ed
examples include be protected if they report misconduct. proposals to email@example.com.
reports of govern- Trust in government, business and non- 37.7%
ment officials tak- profit leaders has dropped significantly. only n organizations with strong ethical pro-
ing a bribe from 40 percent of respondents in the 2010 edelman grams report less observed misconduct than
undercover real Trust Barometer consider Ceos credible when those without such programs.
estate developers, speaking about their companies. n leaders need to set the tone from the top.
Should not be a priority in an economic crisis
a company misap- The future doesn’t look so good, either. n human resource processes — such
Is a fair update that will enhance competition
propriating chari- surveys of both college and high school stu- as recruiting, selection, performance evalua- Is unfair to the owners of liquor stores
table funds raised Alex J. Plinio dents illustrate an alarming level of justification tion and promotion — should include ethical Doesn’t go far enough to modernize
from donors and for cheating. and, as one survey notes, people behavior in decision-making.
seC charges against Goldman Sachs. Frankly, who cheat in high school are more likely as n First-line supervisors and middle
there are so many of these types of reports that adults to lie to customers and employers and to managers are most in need for training, since
they are too numerous to mention. cheat on expense reports. also, the 2007 Junior they are typically the first to receive reports Debate over N.J.’s liquor
a recent project completed at the rutgers achievement Worldwide/deloitte Teen ethics of misconduct.
Institute for ethical leadership is filled with survey reports nearly 40 percent of teens believe n Whistle-blowing systems need strength- laws is proof of passion
more bad news than good about our citizens, lying, cheating, plagiarizing and violence are ening, and employees must be protected if they
ProPosed legislation to change rules
youth and leaders. The report is a strong wake- sometimes necessary to succeed in school. report misconduct.
governing liquor licenses touched off a
up call if our country is to avoid continuing The institute’s report notes it is important n heavily regulated industries have less
passionate response, with both sides in our
ethical lapses that create bankrupt companies, to be realistic about people and to understand misconduct than regulated industries. More
weekly poll working overtime to drum up
failing economies, corrupt governance and there will always be dishonest, unethical people regulations may be needed until leaders earn
support for their causes.
misappropriation of philanthropic funds. among us. however, that is no excuse for not the right to self-regulate.
Most readers felt such legislation
The new report, “state of ethics in our soci- taking actions necessary to strengthen our insti- since our future employees, today’s young
should wait until the state’s many other
ety: a Call for action,” notes the rate of observed tutions’ ethical cultures. here are a few things people, appear to provide little hope for change
problems are solved, but Matt Hand, of
employee misconduct is high, and nothing noted in the report that leaders should consider: with the ethical issues we face, we should con-
Whole Foods Market, pointed out that “this
short of an embarrassment to our organizations n decision-making needs to take into sider making ethics and personal values a
action would only funnel money to the state
and institutions. one out of two employees, account all stakeholders and the potential strong part of pre-college and college educa-
to bridge those budget gaps.”
according to the 2009 National Business ethics impact on them. tion. The change we need starts with each one
those who supported changing the
survey conducted by the ethics resource Cen- n leaders and managers can create an of us recognizing that our behavior either adds
law said it’s another example of onerous
ter, reported observing misconduct in this year atmosphere where unethical behavior will not to or subtracts from our society. u
new Jersey regulations, with onetime Flor-
alone. Misconduct includes behaviors such as thrive. They can do this by demonstrating -----------------------------------------------------
ida resident Natalie Kollman writing, “Mak-
fraud, misappropriation of company resources their own ethical behavior and recognizing and Alex J. Plinio is co-founder of the Newark-based Insti-
ing liquor purchases as convenient as they
and other actions that would damage a com- rewarding that behavior in others. tute for Ethical Leadership,