Just posting a note to revive this thread, since it (the subject of my note) seems to illustrate that there probably really is no new corporatist BS under the sun,
but merely newish-seeming populist flavours
that might not have been used recently.
As example, I refer to a post in what used to be - some years ago - my go-to source of PAT
hinking) on business management issues, but which now seems to be struggling for relevance in 2017 where the Establishment "academic thinkers"
would seem to have been left standing still, outpaced by technology and the art of what is now possible
- yes, it's The Harvard Business School
in a desperately click-inviting post: In the Wake of #MeToo, Should Corporate Boards Hire Compliance Officers?
(Copied in spoiler below sans
In the Wake of #MeToo, Should Corporate Boards Hire Compliance Officers?
03 JAN 2018 WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- In the Wake of #MeToo, Should Corporate Boards Hire Compliance Officers?
Is corporate governance broken? How else to explain the many charges of sexual harassment that surfaced in 2017. James Heskett poses a potential fix.
by James Heskett - Emeritus Professor [how depressing is that?]
One of the most important global management stories in 2017 was the #MeToo movement, a transparent, global hotline that brought specific charges of sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, to our attention.
High-profile accusations of gender bias and sexual harassment in Silicon Valley, in the worlds of entertainment, athletics, media, and government drew our attention to the issue. They also raised questions about why some of these practices had been covered up for so long. In some cases, the charges occasioned firings, resignations, and political losses.
Of course, the misbehavior was not confined to sexual harassment. It included activities occasioned, in some cases, by pressure to meet profit goals or suffer severe consequences. The behavior occurred in spite of efforts, such as the creation of reporting hotlines and ombudsmen, to expose and respond to it. It raised questions about how much was known in leadership ranks about what was going on. Inevitably, as it always does, it raised questions about why directors with ultimate responsibility didn’t know more and act sooner. As someone with experience on more than a dozen for-profit boards, I understand why directors find it so difficult to acquire enough knowledge and information to carry out their duties to various stakeholders.
There was a time, of course, when it was generally believed that directors had just two primary responsibilities: ensuring the organization was led by an effective CEO and generally representing shareholders’ interests. The CEO was a filter between the organization and the board. In many organizations, the CEO chaired the board and played a key role in selecting new board members. There was an implicit presumption of trust among the CEO and board members. At least a limited kind of camaraderie was thought to be essential among the leadership and the directors of a company.
Those fearing dysfunctional behaviors resulting from that kind of camaraderie have advocated the creation of the independent board chair, whether or not the CEO is a board member. But the dysfunctional behaviors apparently have continued without the knowledge of independent chairs, even with the existence of such things as confidential hotlines. (For example, Wells Fargo, the poster child for dysfunctional behaviors in recent months, has an independent board chair.)
Employees in need of their jobs have been afraid to report dysfunctional behaviors, even when they themselves are directly affected. Others who have reported issues have been disciplined or even fired after their complaints have been lodged “confidentially.” Trust has suffered among employees, customers, and suppliers alike.
This prompts the question of whether boards should hire compliance officers with independent status reporting directly to them. [The idea is not new. It has been employed among some financial organizations. The US government has an Office of Compliance, an “independent, non-partisan” agency.] The purpose would be to facilitate knowledge of what is going on in the organization.
It might be argued that this could damage the bond of trust among leaders, a situation where management might shield the compliance officer from information, or even a case where the CEO and compliance officer might develop a cozy relationship. On the other hand, an added window into the workings of the organization, similar to that often provided by the chief legal officer reporting the status of legal cases, would be available to the board. The existence of the compliance officer could provide assurance to potential whistleblowers and plaintiffs that their information would not be held against them, thus encouraging more reporting, for better or worse.
Should corporate boards hire compliance officers? What do you think?
First off, though the post asks "What do you think?"
, it would seem to be a tad disingenuous, since it actually doesn't seem to matter a toss what YOU actually think
, because, from past experience, regardless of what you post as thoughtful comment, it will in any event be expunged (i.e., without trace) after a few weeks. at most. It would not
be correct to call this "accidental"
. The opening post though, however facile (e.g., like the one in the subject), will remain for posterity. I reckon that it would be legitimate to consider this to be a form of "fake news" generation
, where the nonsense is all that is left to "stick" as "truth" for posterity, thus substantiating itself, with the various thoughts contributed (by request) by readers having been "disappeared" down the memory-hole (ref. "1984").Yet the question itself may have merit.
The question posed is: "In the Wake of #MeToo, Should Corporate Boards Hire Compliance Officers?"
It seems to me that the question is based on an implicit assumption that it would make a difference in the first place - but, would it really?
Corporations will generally install corporate compliance rules when obliged to do so - i.e., when it is politically or fiscally prudent to do so, or when it is mandated by statute - e.g., where to ignore such compliance enforcement could seriously adversely affect their bottom line (i.e., revenue/profit), in some way.
This is particularly so regarding where what are deemed to be unethical or illegal trade practices are concerned.
History shows that, in general, corporations are quite good at taking the necessarily prudent and responsible approach in such matters.
Unfortunately, history also
shows that it generally doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference whether corporations exhort their personnel to conform to avoidance of this or that unethical or illegal practice or "behaviours", because people (usually senior managers and executives) will attempt to do their damnedest to work around such "ethical" constraints where they see a potential pot of gold, or a savings, or a marketing advantage can be had.
As to WHY
they would do this? Well, it was explained years ago in the documentary film "The Corporation" - which showed that most successful companies are good corporate psychopaths. So, nothing new there.
Thus we see the odd historical examples set by sometimes huge corporations (no names, no pack drill, but they know who they are), where they flagrantly breach statutory and/or their own standards of compliance, only for this to be subsequently revealed for what it was - good old profit-oriented fraud, corruption and greed.
As an independent management consultant I have personally seen several instances of this in large and multi-national corporations, first-hand. One of the most amazing instances (for me) was in a worldwide dairy corporation which had a huge government arms-length stake (subsidisation and statutory protection) in its home-country operation and where the executive apparently signed-off approval on a project to be conducted in an operating subsidiary in a foreign economy, which project they KNEW would breach that country's laws
, but where they could realise an immediate $5-million (or so) potential profit (foreign government stimulus grant/award) by the breach. This project - which would have effectively obtained a foreign government grant under false pretences - would apparently have gone ahead, had not someone - whose complicity in the chain of official approval/execution was required/necessary (to preserve the lie) - called "foul", and recommended that it be referred to the external auditors for ratification (which of course led to the whole project being canned as it was founded on a process that would have been illegal by definition, in the foreign economy). I gather that the individual in question was apparently subsequently fired on specious grounds, but threatened litigation and was paid off fairly handsomely.
This would seem to substantiate the question/suggestion I make above, viz: "In the Wake of #MeToo, would it really make any difference if Corporate Boards Hire Compliance Officers?"
Apart from creating some more non-jobs and dollops of virtue-signalling, I suspect it would not make any difference. It would only address the symptomatic problems of corporate sickness, where the causal problem is the absolute, legal and statutorily-approved LACK
of accountability of the legal person of the Corporation to serve the societal good. Which is the way we built it.
Tough one to crack, that.
Nevertheless, from experience, I'd recommend you always identify and treat the causal problem (i.e., where the real sickness lies) - every time - but of course, that's
not likely to happen with the kind of seemingly pea-brained thinking and obeisance to political correctness demonstrated in the original question and which seems to only seek to appease political correctness.
So much for PAT