Corporate Ethics and Integrity – Foundation

Introduction to the Foundation, Officer and Practitioner modules of Corporate Ethics and Integrity Certificate Masterclass Seminar.

Almost two decades ago based on the prevailing scandal at the time resulted in an avalanche of corporate accounting scandals. The list was quite extensive, and the global capital markets had a hard time keeping track of them all. Topping them all was the Enron Scandal that boosted profits and hid debts totaling over billions of USD by improperly using off-the-books partnerships, manipulated the US power market, bribed foreign governments to win contracts abroad and more. To hide the magnitude of the scandal when facing $100 billion in claims and liabilities, the company filed Chapter 11 protection, the statutory auditor Arthur Andersen was convicted of obstruction of justice for destroying Enron documents and they lad a lapse of multiple ethics and integrity issues including accounting complications, insider-trading allegations and almost every corporate ethics and integrity wrongdoing.

At the three modules of the Corporate Ethics and Integrity Certificate Masterclass, we will develop the managerial roadmap and framework to demonstrate business ethics and address the multiple stakeholder concerns on ethical corporate conduct with a public policy to encourage developing the corporate ethics programs.

Implementing the corporate culture components of ethics and integrity is no longer simply considered an independent person’s decision. Instead, the directors, officers, and managers are collectively held responsible and accountable for (not) developing an ethical organisational and corporate culture that focuses on the ever-changing issues and explores the current problems within business ethics.

We will continue to look at the corporate changes in how business ethics reflect the issues, challenges, and opportunities all stakeholders will face in managing corporate ethics and integrity during the modules.

Each module on an ethical framework, agenda, and context will include knowledge and best practices from international business and public policy decisions. This real-world, hands-on approach to business ethics should help participants prepare to face ethical challenges in business and develop an ability to make moral decisions in our globalised corporate world.

Like the lack of introduction to digitisation and data transformation, the demise of any company corporations that fail to incorporate ethics and integrity appropriately and adequately into their decision-making processes will experience the same failures.

Therefore, as the continued corporate scandals document that many firms, directors, managers, and staff continue to engage in dishonest, deceptive, fraudulent misconducts that very often conceal a judgement mistake, failure to address stakeholders’ interests, excessive risk-taking or non-compliance. In addition, the financial crisis that pushed the global economy into the deepest recession in 80 years has increased regulations and laws encouraging organisations to develop programs that improve ethical conduct and prevent misconduct. Therefore, we have developed this certificate course to prevent future misconduct.

Module 1. The Corporate Ethics and Integrity Program. Foundation

  1. Using a corporate roadmap and framework, we will explain how ethics can be integrated and embedded into strategic business decisions. This framework provides an overview of the many concepts, processes, and mandatory or voluntary business practices associated with business ethics programs. Issues like intellectual reasoning are challenging to document as they are subjective. However, the approach prepares the participants to get the Foundation of ethical issues and dilemmas they most probably will face in their business careers.
  2. Just as every individual has a unique personal set of principles and values, every organisation also has its own set of values, rules, and organisational ethical culture. Therefore, business ethics must align the corporate culture and interdependent relationships between individuals and other significant persons involved in corporate decision-making. The course will guide a businessperson to make ethical decisions while facing a short-term orientation, feeling organisational pressure to perform well and seeing rewards based on outcomes in a challenging competitive environment. We will also focus on how the lack of business ethics has challenged our economic viability and entangled global companies with relevant examples and cases addressing the complex environment of ethical decision making in organisations and pragmatic, actual business concerns.
  3. Employees cannot make the best ethical decisions in an emptiness that lacks the influence of organisational codes, policies, and culture, including the coworkers’ ethical conduct or those you supervise. Therefore, we need to acknowledge the critical consequences of coworkers and managers’ (un)ethical conduct and how to recognise and report and address ethical issues in the workplace. We will focus on how to fit in the organisation’s ethical culture while upholding the ethical standards. The organisation based on cultural environment, values, and actions can distinguish the elements of business versus nonbusiness decisions.
  4. The Transparency, accountability and proportionality issues will focus on the roles and responsibilities the participants will face in business. The ethics and integrity components must be reinforced in the job profile based on the identified and prevailing set of risks that organisation’s face on an ongoing basis to understand the ethical decision process (which cannot be taught).

Therefore our primary goal with the three modules is to enhance the awareness of the ethical decision-making process with skills that contribute to responsible business conduct by all stakeholders. Furthermore, the focus and concerns on current issues that challenge the business environment can demonstrate that the corporate ethics program is instrumental to the long-term well-being of businesses and the global economic system.

Business ethics in the organisation requires principle-based leadership from top management and purposeful actions that include planning and implementing standards of appropriate conduct and openness and continuous effort to improve the organisation’s ethical performance. Personal values are essential in each ethical decision; however, they are simply components that guide the organisation’s decisions, actions, and policies. The burden of documenting ethical behaviour relates to the organisation’s values and traditions with the individuals who manage or take the decisions and implement them. Therefore, plan and implement ethical business standards with skills, structure, and resources to achieve ethical objectives effectively and efficiently.

The framework must then identify, analyse, and resolve ethical issues in the business decision making process with individual values. These ethics address the conflicts between their personal values and the organisation.

Ethical decisions can sometimes be classified as borderline cases with a close call. It takes years of experience from the industry practices to realise what is acceptable. Together we will find the honest answers for informed ethical decisions. The steps to take as follows:

  • Do not moralise by indicating what to do in a specific situation.
  • Provide an overview of moral values in the decision-making processes.
  • How to judge the ethical behaviour of others based on values and convictions in making business decisions.
  • Encourage them to think about the effects of their decisions on business and society.
  • The Me-Too campaign has also proven that what is acceptable today is immoral and unethical in the next decade or so

And finally, the organisation’s reward system can reinforce appropriate behaviour and shape the attitudes and beliefs on important issues with new information, awareness, and shared values.

The agenda of the Foundation module consists of fourteen chapters, which provide a framework to identify, analyse, and understand how management deals with ethical decisions on moral issues.

  1. An Overview of Business Ethics with a broad context on business ethics.
  2. The Importance of Business Ethics describes the issues and concerns that are most important to business ethics.
  3. Stakeholder Relationships, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Governance are issues that will be repeated in all three modules to provide an overall framework.
  4. Ethical Issues and the Institutionalisation of Business Ethics provide the background to identify ethical issues and understand how society, the legal system, the oversight authorities, and stakeholders have attempted to hold organisations responsible for managing these issues.
  5. Emerging Business Ethics Issues expands the exposure to business ethics issues, key issues that create ethical decisions. The depth of the ethical problems includes abusive and intimidating behaviour, lying, bribery, corporate intelligence, environmental issues, intellectual property rights, privacy, data protection and more.
  6. With time the corporate culture is institutionalised with business ethics and critical elements of core or best practices. The international legislation and regulation that support mandatory business ethics initiatives.
  7. The Decision-Making process includes a framework to identify, analyse, and understand how businesspeople make ethical decisions and deal with ethical issues.
  8. Ethical Decision Making and Ethical leadership will reflect the development of ethical decision making and ethical leadership approaches.
  9. Individual Factors: Ethical philosophies and values to explore the role of moral viewpoints and the development of morals as unique factors in the ethical decision-making process, including white-collar crime.
  10. Organisational players: The Role and responsibilities of Ethical Culture and relationships considering organisational influences on business decisions, such as interactions, distinctions in trade and corporate pressures, including whistleblowing.
  11. Implementing Business Ethics in a Global Economic looks at specific measures that companies can take to build an effective ethics program and how these programs may be affected by global issues.
  12. Developing an Effective Ethics Program including corporate best practices for creating practical ethics and compliance program.
  13. Implementing and Auditing the Ethics Program; the framework for auditing ethics initiatives and the certificates and code of conduct. How can audits help companies pinpoint problem areas, measure their progress in improving behaviour, and the debriefing opportunity after a significant crisis?
  14. The globalisation of Ethical Decision Making is completely revised to reflect the complex and dynamic events that almost caused a global depression. This chapter will help students understand the significant issues involved in making decisions in a global environment.

We will also have some cases as exercises to bring reality into the learning process. The companies and situations are based on real cases; however, based on our commitment to The Chatham House Rule, we have disguised the names and some facts with the primary aim to analyse the cases, for insight into ethical decisions realities of making decisions in complex situations.

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