Getting Proactive on Ethics

June 22, 2005
In the wake of a long string of corporate scandals and the subsequent passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, risk management has taken on a whole new meaning for executives.

To make sure their companies are not the next ones to hit the headlines, many CEOs and boards have implemented codes of ethics, hired ethics officers and established compliance controls.

But Lynn Sharp Paine, a John G. McLean professor at the Harvard Business School, says that focusing on compliance is not enough.

In her presentation Tuesday, Creating Companies That Do the Right Thing: Character or Competence, Sharp Paine explained that companies need to be more proactive in their approach to incorporating ethics into their organizations.

Too often, she said, they either rely solely on controls or on the character of their leaders. "I don't think you can control your way to excellence any more than you can cut costs to achieve financial success," she said in an interview before her presentation.

Read the rest of this story and learn about more trends coming from the annual SHRM conference in the Daily Conference News microsite.