Holding Companies and Individuals Accountable

Forum Assignment for the Week: 250 Words minimum For this week’s Forum, respond to the following:  

Using this week’s lesson and resources as a start, locate three research studies that support the premise that better managers are those who pursue an understanding of the culture and/or climate of their organization. Why does it matter to gain insight about the culture and/or climate in the workplace? Use online, peer-reviewed journal research (case study research is preferred) to inform your writing. Summarize the takeaways from the articles that can support greater skill in managing people.

***Your post must also end with a “Question to the Class” – something related to the topic that you found thought-provoking and about which you’d like to know more and have further dialog. ***

No sources or citations required

General Instructions Applicable to All Forums:

enlightened To receive 100% as a grade (the exemplary level) for the weekly forums, you should ensure that your responses meet the following criterion:

Critical Analysis – Discussion postings display an excellent understanding of the required readings and underlying concepts including correct use of terminology. Postings are made in time for others to read and respond as well as deliver information that is full of thought, insight, and analysis. The information presented makes connection to previous or current content or to real-life situations, and must contain rich and fully developed new ideas, connections, or applications. (It is important that you integrate the weekly readings in your response. One way to do that is to make position statements, then discuss supporting evidence (i.e. research and/or personal experience).

Participation as a Member of the Learning Community – Discussion postings actively stimulate and sustain further discussion by building on peers’  responses including building a focused argument around a specific issue or asking a new related question or making an oppositional statement supported by personal experience or related research. (Please plan your time wisely.  Your responses should encourage your peers to respond to your postings and build the foundation for the class to review and discuss your initial posting.  It’s important that you meet the Thursday deadline for your initial posting so that others can respond.  Having all of your work in before Sunday afternoon allows your peers to provide comments to your feedback and strengthens your ability to participate as a member of the weekly learning community discussions.)

Professional Communication and Etiquette – Written interactions in the Forum show respect and sensitivity to peers’ background and beliefs (Regardless of the position you are taking, please ensure that your participation comments are respectful to your peers’ background and beliefs).

Writing Skills – Written responses are free of grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors.  The style of writing facilitates communication. (Make sure your work is free of errors.  If there are any errors as outlined above, you will not receive 100% for the forum). 



Welcome to module week 7. This week we will research and explore the subject of corporate culture. The culture of an organization is similar to the personality of an individual as we explored in module week 6. A healthy corporate culture is one build on trust, fairness, and high ethical standards. An unhealthy corporate culture leads to a multitude of problems. Let’s get started.

Holding Companies and Individuals Accountable


Paul Fiorelli, in a recent article in the Wake Forest Law Review (Fall 2004) summarized the increasing number of regulations and guidelines that refer to ethics and corporate culture and that are now being used to hold corporations and individuals accountable. The SEC, Congress, regulators, the Sentencing Commission, the New York Stock Exchange, the Department of Justice, rating agencies and others have all weighed in on the topic. For examples, consider just three recent business news headlines:

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Every organization has an existing culture. For most, the good news is that their existing culture, while containing a few bad elements, is largely in good shape. The task, therefore, is not to create or invent a new culture, but to identify what exists, assess where improvements are needed, develop an action plan and implement it. This may seem obvious and yet the temptation may be strong to skip the preliminaries and jump right into action plans and implementation.

Too many organizations assume they know what their culture is. Often they think that it can be summed up in a slogan, like: “We have a culture of innovation” or “We’re an action-based culture.” Others assume their values statement adequately represents their unique culture. Ideally, your values statement should be an expression of your “shared values” and, as such, a concise description of your corporate culture. But don’t assume that it is. Nor should you assume that your views or the views of senior management accurately describe the existing corporate culture.

Beyond the Employee Base

You may want to go beyond your current employee base. In order to gain a broader perspective consider including former employees, former compliance and ethics officers, suppliers, consumers, competitors and third parties who have been in a position to observe your organization over time. They all have stories to tell and can help you fill out the complete picture.

If you choose to include third parties in your review, concentrate on the specific, first-hand stories that they tell—not on their opinion of your corporate reputation. Your reputation may not accurately reflect your current culture. Instead, your reputation may be sustained by public relations and marketing, or by academic case studies that no longer relate. The latter is particularly common if the case studies pertain to corporate social responsibility. Such cases have a long academic shelf life.

Another way to assess your current corporate culture is to determine what employees and others believe are the motivations behind your ethics initiatives. Do they believe they are just attempting to “cover” the corporation, and meet compliance requirements? Or do they see them as tools that help them to achieve business objectives in an ethical way?



Surveys can be helpful. One company asked employees to respond to the claim: “I would receive more criticism for violating an ethical principle than not meeting a deadline or target.” Another asks, “It is safe to voice my opinion…true or false?” These and similar questions can provide valuable data to supplement the interviews and focus groups.

Whether you employ interviews, focus groups, surveys, or all three, specific questions such as the following should be included in order to help gain insight into employees’ beliefs:

· Is the pressure to perform unreasonably?

· Is it sometimes difficult to ask questions or raise concerns?

· Is compliance, ethics or even legal issues ever denigrated or marginalized?

· Is bad conduct rewarded or tolerated?

· Is there a close tie between performance and rewards?

· Does short-term thinking dominate?

· Do employees identify sufficiently with the interests of shareholders?

· Do employees understand and sufficiently care about the needs of the customers?

· Is the quality of products and/or services a high priority? Are employees proud of the products and/or services? Are they proud of the organization?



I hope you found this lesson both interesting and informative. Often we just assume we know the culture of our organization or just assume it is healthy. However, the numerous examples highlight that often leadership does not have a pulse on the culture or have made incorrect assumptions. Now that you are aware of what a corporate culture is and is not, you may be in a position to make a positive change or at least influence on your own corporate culture. Next week is our final week.


Petry. (2011). Assessing Corporate Culture. www.ethikospublication.com


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