Workforce.com

Lockheed Martin Is Game for Ethics

October 1, 1997
Although many companies have established ethics programs during the last decade, few have taken such a comprehensive approach as Lockheed Martin Corp. The Bethesda, Maryland-based defense giant has designed an ethics program that's a model for the corporate world. It offers employee training, a hot line and a variety of written materials.

To begin with, Lockheed Martin distributes a booklet titled Our Values to every employee. It lists the company's ethics standards and discusses why honesty, integrity and quality are crucial. The booklet also details important values and provides specific behavioral recommendations to readers. Another pamphlet, Ethics in Our Workplace, features detailed discussions on a wide array of topics, including ethics in cyberspace, conflicts of interest, cultural differences and excuses for misconduct. A separate newsletter, Corporate Legal Times, provides self-assessments and information. And a full-fledged board game called The Ethics Challenge offers a litany of ethics issues in an amusing way—featuring characters from Dilbert ™. Employees play the game during ethics training to spur discussion.

The company also spares no effort when it comes to actual training. Every year, all 200,000 employees attend an hour of live ethics awareness training. Instead of the company using consultants or professional instructors, employees' direct supervisors direct the course—which includes role-playing and free-form Q&A. And that's true from the chairman downward. The company also provides a three-inch thick binder that discusses the role of the company's ethics officers and serves up realistic scenarios dealing with sexual harassment, interpersonal communication, and gifts, gratuities and other business courtesies. Finally, there's a toll-free hot line that brings in more than 4,000 calls a year, and ethics officers are located at all 70 business units worldwide. Says Carol R. Marshall, vice president of ethics and business conduct: "The more people discuss ethics and think about it, the more likely they are to act responsibly."

Workforce, October 1997, Vol. 76, No. 10, p. 51.