Three Ways to Encourage Ethical Behavior in Any Organization

While investigations and audits play an important role in preventing wrongdoing in an agency, the best way to ensure ethical behavior is to promote it and to build a culture around it.  Research from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, for instance, shows that employees at large companies with effective ethics programs are only half as likely to observe misconduct when compared with employees at companies without ethics programs.


With this in mind, here are three things organizations can do to build a culture of ethics and reduce fraud, waste and abuse:

Build an ethical culture. This requires more than a handout or a 10 minute segment in the first-day orientation program.  Ethical cultures praise good behavior just as much as good results.  Leadership is held to the same standard as other agency members, and are subject to the same oversight bodies.  While no agency can create a temptation-free environment, care is taken to avoid situations where employees are tempted towards unethical behavior due to a high potential for major benefits, and a low potential for bad consequences.

Favor Transparency.  When it comes to unethical behavior, sunlight is an excellent disinfectant.  Government agencies range in the amount of transparency they can provide – agency staff are likely more free to share information at the Department of Transportation than at the FBI.  In general, however, agency work conducted in open view is less likely to be tarnished by corruption.  If possible, encourage an environment where information is shared and questions are welcome.

Hire Ethical People.  While it’s impossible to predict with perfect accuracy what you’re getting upon hiring somebody, there are factors that indicate a person is more likely to be ethical.  Research from Ethical Systems has shown that employees who test highly for conscientiousness (the tendency to be disciplined, responsible, organized and industrious) are least likely to be unethical.  Those who test highly on aggression or self-interest, meanwhile, are more likely to exhibit unethical behaviors.

To learn more about how WingSwept’s CMTS case management software can improve the results of your investigative groups, call us at 919-600-5102 or contact us at Team_CMTS@WingSwept.com

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