May 182011

Culture: Corporate Culture: Top Priority

Culture: 05/15/11, in Elearning

Ethics and compliance executives indicate that culture, values and leadership are now the critical priorities for building successful ethics and compliance initiatives, says a new report from LRN.

Ethics and compliance leaders who participated in the LRN survey see themselves as the champions for creating ethical, values-based cultures:

>> 58 percent agree that the primary mandate of their efforts is to ensure ethical behaviors and alignment with core values. In contrast, only 42 percent believe their core mandate is legal and regulatory compliance.

>> 68 percent indicate that creating long-term value for the business is a principal benefit of promoting an ethical culture.

Yet the survey findings also suggest that the ability of ethics and compliance leaders to inspire and sustain ethical cultures at their companies may be limited. While most companies recognize that “culture building” is an ongoing journey, these leaders acknowledge that they are experiencing barriers to promoting values-based corporate cultures: 57 percent do not give ethical behaviors the same weight as business outcomes in performance evaluations, and 54 percent never formally celebrate acts of ethical leadership.

Further, while a majority believes their organizations have strong tone at the top — with senior management embracing and modeling core values — 45 percent are concerned that the tone of middle management can create a critical disconnect in a company’s leadership, management and workforce that must be addressed.

“What this report reflects is that there is a ‘good news/bad news’ scenario playing out in the business community,” observes David Greenberg of LRN. “It is promising that culture is recognized as an imperative, but there is still work to be done in inspiring our leaders to invest in corporate cultures as a strategic source of competitive advantage. Tomorrow’s winners will be those who invest in systems of values-based culture, governance and leadership as drivers of long-term business success and significance. Culture is the key to innovation, an inspired workforce, deep connection with all stakeholders and long-term sustainable financial performance.”

This fourth annual Ethics & Compliance Leadership Survey underscores what leaders from 107 companies (most with global operations, more than 7,500 employees and $1 billion-plus in revenues) see as their biggest challenges and top priorities for the year ahead.

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