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Jo Geraghty

Director

Compliance as a cultural norm

Date added: 19th Oct 2015
Category: Culture of conduct/ethics

If you want to see compliance as a cultural norm within the business then as a member of the leadership team you have to set high personal ethical standards

Even the strongest compliance culture will struggle to withstand the evolving, creative and pervasive threat of corruption

If you are looking at a good news/ bad news scenario then the above quote definitely falls into the bad news category. It comes from the Control Risks report: “International business attitudes to corruption 2015/16,” but whilst this comment will send a shiver up the spine of anyone tasked with compliance control there are also plenty of positives to emerge from the report. Indeed, the foreword to the report suggests that if compliance teams are adequately resourced and if compliance is seen to be everyone’s responsibility, part of the cultural norm, then problems can be picked up before they have a chance to develop.

One of the strongest messages to emerge from the report is the importance of setting the right tone from the top. As with any organisational cultural issue leaders won’t just get away with lip service, mere speeches and notes on the corporate website will do little to set the tone. If you want to see compliance as a cultural norm within the business then as a member of the leadership team you have to set high personal ethical standards and be seen to live them every day.

Corporate culture is an ever-changing entity which is influenced by internal and external interactions. Whilst in theory anyone can affect the culture, it is up to the leadership to ensure that the culture remains strong and is set to deliver the strategic plan of the organisation. That’s why leading by example is so important; but it will only have the desired effect if the leadership creates the conditions, and provides the support, which enable employees to live the desired culture on a daily basis.

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