New and various studies reveal that unethical activity continues to occur in the private sector, even while SOX watch dogs are in place and whistle blowers are amoung us. Studies also suggest that large investments in compliance programs have had little impact. Indeed, 16 percent of HR professionals say they have quit their jobs for ethical reasons, according to a 2005 survey by SHRM, the top five ethical lapses given for resigning are:
Lying by management
Title VII violations
The falsification of reports and records
Employee privacy violations
Employees committing fraud
It's not surprising that these compliance programs may be having trouble getting the human behaviors to change. Coaching employees on a regular and consistent basis is far more effective than a one-time class upon hire. Management behavior is the litmus test on whether the culture of an organization could have the potential to become more ethical.
The enforcement of ethical and legal issues is often left up to corporate human resources (HR) departments, when it should be handled daily by front line managers. This is where the behavior or incident is observed in real-time and has the most credibility for making a coaching or serious discussion successful.