Issue 30: December 2018
This issue of Setting the Example is focused on building a deeper understanding of ethics to enable organisations to strengthen their ethics more effectively. Our lead article, ‘Do organisations really understand ethics’, addresses two key issues. This content is supported by a radio interview on the role leaders should play in managing ethics within a company, by a TV clip on ‘The ethics of business’, and a commentary on ethics in the legal profession. Recognising the imperative to convert words and ideas into action, we have included recomendations for making ethics more impactful in your organisation in 2019. The recommended reading also provides great guidance on being “competently courageous” and how to improve the success of your courageous actions.


Getting South Africa back on an ethical track warrants that ethics is a priority for all organisations. Beyond the obvious benefits of an ethical culture, like improved reputation and better stakeholder relationships, an effective ethics programme can deliver even greater value. Every employee the organisation influences positively as regards ethics creates an ethics advocate - or, hopefully, an ethics activist - who takes ethics to his or her family, friends and community. And every added ethics activist improves the ethical capital of our country. Speak to us about our Ethics C3 Programme that focuses on company, community and country.


Our current assessment tools are already supported by innovative approaches to ethics training, such as ethics conversations, and by ethics consulting on issues such as ethics strategy. Adding to this we are launching customised ethics activations to allow employees or clients to interact with large scale ethics installations. This positions ethics as a real, tangible and visible feature of the organisation and promotes ethical awareness and engagement much more effectively.


Of course organisations understand ethics at a level of what’s right and good versus what’s bad and wrong. Their leaders may even behave ethically. But being ethically competent entails much more. Two important issues are discussed below which illustrate that a deeper and broader understanding of ethics is crucial to improving an organisation’s ethical status. Read more…



Cultivating Everyday Courage by James R Detert, Harvard Business Review, November-December 2018.

Having the courage to speak out against the unethical conduct is especially relevant now as South Africa tries to address the ethical failings of the past. James Detert’s article provides excellent practical guidance about how competently courageous people can improve the success of their courageous actions:
  1. “They create the right conditions for action by establishing a strong internal reputation and by improving their fallback options in case things go poorly;
  2. They carefully choose their battles, discerning whether a given opportunity to act makes sense in light of their values, the timing, and their broader objectives;
  3. They maximize the odds of in-the-moment success by managing the messaging and emotions;
  4. They follow up to preserve relationships and marshal commitment.”
The ethics of business
Cynthia Schoeman was a jurist on Iman Rappetti’s new eNCA show, Madam Speaker. The 29 November 2018 show addressed a crisis of ethics in private business. Listen …


What role should leaders play in managing ethics within a company?

Cynthia Schoeman was interviewed by Bongi Gwala on The Talking Point, SAfm on 2 November 2018. Listen…



Auditing ethical scandals reflect the importance of ethics for all ‘trust-based’ professions, which specifically includes legal practices. Thomas Harban’s article, Ethics: Time to reassess legal ethics in the changing environment , published in De Rebus in November 2018, makes interesting reading. Addressing ethics and risk, Harban advocates that “Ethics must form part of the training program in every legal practice and every member of staff in the firm must be included in such a training program.”


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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