Issue 21: August 2016
In this issue of Setting the Example we focus on the question of whether a company’s ethics are strong enough to keep it on the right side of the cost-benefit divide, we explore the importance of ethical confidence for growth in Africa, and we outline three trends that can generate a return on integrity. We share our methodology about what needs to be done to recover from a breach of ethics effectively, and have included a comment on the erratic treatment of whistleblowers.


Much as ethics is the “right thing to do”, it is nonetheless true that being ethical can incur a cost for the organisation. The challenge this poses is whether the benefits of being ethical are outweighed by the costs of being ethical, or not.
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A breach of ethics can occur even in the most ethical organisation. How the organisation deals with the incident is clearly important, not least because it can either stabilise and retain the organisation’s ethical reputation or undermine it. Our guidelines of how to deal with ethical failure (below) will go a long way to getting back on track. But there is a scenario where this is much more difficult.
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A timely lesson for South Africa post elections

Cynthia Schoeman’s article, published in the 2016 NEPAD Yearbook, recognises that sustained growth for African countries rests heavily on the country’s ability to attract foreign investors – and to do this successfully, they must been seen to be ethical.

Sound ethics and good governance are certainly not the only factors that can promote economic growth, but they are especially noteworthy because they represent the crucial foundation factors. In the absence of a sense of security about ethics (and all that being ethical implies), investors are likely to look at lower risk opportunities.

Getting just five issues right will go a long way to boosting ethical confidence in the country. Read more …



The erratic treatment of whistleblowers

The fight against corruption is assisted a great deal when unethical conduct is reported. However, whistleblowers are often not viewed positively. Their action should be seen as supporting the preservation of an ethical environment by disclosing misconduct and thereby allowing it to be addressed. However, whistleblowers are often subject to a “shoot the messenger” attitude, where the bearer of bad news is viewed as if they were to blame for it. Read more …
Ethics Monitor feedback
“After receiving an AA rating via the Ethics Monitor survey for 2015, we were keen to once again complete the survey to benchmark our progress. We are delighted by our 2016 result and to show that we lead by example by becoming the first organisation utilising the tool to receive a AAA ethics rating.”
Angela Cherrington , CEO, Institute of Directors in Southern Africa, August 2016

“BDO South Africa prides itself on delivering Exceptional Client Service and part of this is ensuring we meet the highest ethical standards at all times. It is important for us to understand the ethical perceptions and behaviour of our leadership and staff – and we’re very pleased to achieve a AA rating in our first survey.”
Mark Stewart, CEO, BDO South Africa, July 2016


Follow three top ethics trends and get a return on integrity
Given the many media reports of scandals and ethical failures, most leaders would acknowledge the importance of ethics in the workplace. But to realise any change or improvement, leaders need to move beyond an acceptance of the importance of ethics to pursue meaningful action. Indispensable to this progression is a sound understanding of ethics to enable leaders to adopt a more effective strategic approach to ethics. The following represent three of the key trends that should be recognised. Read more …


Faber-Castell’s Global Commitment
Faber-Castell, founded in 1781, is one of the oldest manufacturers of pens and pencils. Their Global Commitment offers an excellent, succinct summary of what business should aspire to. Read more …

About Ethics Monitoring & Management Services (Pty) Ltd

Ethics Monitoring & Management Services was started by Cynthia Schoeman to help organisations to improve ethics in the workplace and to encourage them to manage ethics proactively. Cynthia developed The Ethics Monitor, a web-based ethics survey, which enables organisations to measure, monitor and report on their ethical status. Ethics Monitoring & Management Services also offers ethics talks, workshop, consulting and training.

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Contact us

Cynthia Schoeman
Managing Director
Ethics Monitoring & Management
Services (Pty) Ltd
011 447 7661; 082 821 3729

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