Issue 7: February 2013
In this issue of Setting the Example, we share our views on the importance of an ethics assessment being part of a due diligence and we explore significant aspects of ethical choice: its implications for the management of ethics, in terms of the concept of dirty hands and in our guest article on the clash between personal and company values. We are also pleased to announce a new talk/workshop that provides insight into the seven crucial ethical issues in a workplace that leaders need to understand.

An ethics assessment should be essential for a due diligence

Due diligence is a term most commonly used for the process whereby a potential purchaser evaluates a target company for acquisition. It amounts to an investigation of a potential investment that includes reviewing all financial records plus anything else deemed material to the sale. Offers to purchase are usually dependent on the results of due diligence analysis.

The importance of a due diligence – as many other business is well illustrated by its failures Read More...


Ethics is a choice with consequences

Workplace ethics is not a new or unknown concept. Virtually every employee and manager understands what being ethical is, what it looks like or what being unethical entails.

This illustrates an important point relative to ethics management - that employees almost always already know what is right and wrong in the workplace. Consequently it should be recognized that the primary purpose of ethics policies, systems and procedures is not to teach employees wrong from right, but rather to reinforce and clarify what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Read More...


Dirty hands

Extracted from Ethics: Giving a Damn, Making a Difference by Cynthia Schoeman

Do we, can we, always live up to our principles? Can we justify compromises? Circumstances can arise when it seems hard to know what’s right and when it is difficult to make the right choice. Such a situation can introduce the concept of “dirty hands”.

Dirty Hands, the 1948 play by Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher and novelist, explores such a situation. Read More...


When your values clash with your company’s

by Charalambos Vlachoutsicos, posted on the HBR Blog Network, 31 January 2013

Authenticity is rightly praised as a virtue. Like all virtues, however, it can get you into trouble, especially if your authentic expression of your values sets you on a collision path with the culture of your workplace.

In an ideal world, of course, you wouldn't be working in a job that clashed with your values, but leaving a job out of principle is a rare luxury that you can seldom afford. Instead, you have to find a way to bridge the gaps you find between your values and the culture you work in. Read More...


NEW TALK: Ethics: the 7 big things

There are 7 primary issues that leaders and managers need to understand to ensure they’re up to speed with the primary ethical issues in the workplace and to enable them to effectively manage and improve their organization’s ethics:
  1. Your employees already know what’s right and wrong: Ethics is a choice
  2. Yes, values are different for different people: The leader’s role
  3. What’s the value of an ethical culture and what’s the new ROI?
  4. Are your ethics “bragging rights”, a nice-to-have or an optional extra?
  5. Ethics needs to move from theory and sound intentions to action
  6. Moral temptations are not the same as ethical dilemmas
  7. When to follow the leader - and when not to follow the leader

Recommended reading

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story by Greg Smith

Following his very public resignation in March 2012 via an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Greg Smith’s book details his assertions of conflicts and ethical lapses at Goldman Sachs.

This adds to the many other ethical scandals in the financial services sector, and is exacerbated by the Public Eye Awards that named Goldman Sachs and Shell as the worst companies for the 2013 edition of the awards.

Ethics: Giving a Damn, Making a Difference by Cynthia Schoeman is now available at bookstores around the country and via

Protect your employees from garnishee fraud

The full extent of garnishee abuse is not known – but a case study by Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs has set alarm bells ringing, says a Mail & Guardian Online report, “Ghastly garnishee abuse exposed”, by Chantelle Benjamin.

A SA multinational company's decision to bring in the law firm to assist more than 13 000 staff members who had garnishee orders against them has revealed a dysfunctional system in which widespread abuse was taking place. Read more...

The biggest fraud in history

An amusing article on (the Economist’s view of) the biggest fraud in history: The king of con-men, The Economist, 22 December 2012

Cry, the corrupt country

According to tip-offs received by Corruption Watch from the public, local government is the most corrupt institution in South Africa, followed by the traffic police and schools.

Story: Cry, the corrupt country by Brendan Roane, The Star, 1 February 2013. Read more...

About Ethics Monitoring & Management Services (Pty) Ltd

Ethics Monitoring & Management Services was started by Cynthia Schoeman to help organizations 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 organizations 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
+2711 447 7661; +2782 821 3729
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