Marking a milestone: 100 programmes over 14 years, 881 certified ethics officers

by Prof Leon van Vuuren | Published on 25 September 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

The Ethics Institute (TEI) began offering the ethics officer certification programme (EOCP) in 2004, with the very first intake of just five attendees. During August 2018, 14 years later, we presented the EOCP for the 100th time. The EOCP is an intensive five-day in-class programme where attendees are taken through a comprehensive curriculum which is now in its fourth generation, and which is tailored for private-sector and public-sector groups. Our entire team of subject matter experts, including associates of the institute, is involved in teaching the various modules. Attendees then have 90 days to complete a practicum assignment in which they must demonstrate their ability to apply what they have learned to a real organisation. Those who achieve the required mark are certified as ethics officers and each is assigned a unique ‘EO’ number.

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Doing business with family - bench-marking of current practices

by Kris Dobie and Mary-Jane Ncube | Published on 27 August 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter


Theoretically, conflicts of interest are an easy matter to deal with: one should not allow personal interests to interfere with professional responsibilities. Put differently, one should always be able to take unbiased decisions in the best interest of the organisation, or in line with one’s professional duties. This might sound relatively straightforward for an ethically sensitive individual to do but, in reality, managing conflicts of interest at an organisational level can get complicated.

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What every ethics office needs: ambassadors and champions

by Grace Garland | Published on 27 July 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when there were no ethics officers in South Africa. Ethics management was, sort of, spread, among a number of different organisational roles such as internal audit or risk management, or it was tucked somewhere under the legal and compliance person’s job description. Today, while we cannot claim that all organisations have an ethics office/r, it is fair to say that ethics has become a material concern in many organisations, and there is a growing acceptance that specialist expertise is required to handle the responsibility.

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'Strength in numbers' applies to business too

by Celia Lourens | Published on 25 June 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

In the context of evolving global legislation and intensified support for the United Nations’ and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s missions of combating corruption, businesses face increased pressure to comply with ethical standards, rules and laws.

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The ethics of respect

by Mary-Jane Ncube | Published on 25 April 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Respect is a topical issue for people of all ages and in all spheres. Whether it is at preschool, in the home or workplace, we all have an innate expectation that we are owed respect by those around us. This is especially true of the people whose opinions we value most, such as our partners, our children, our co-workers and our peers.

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South Africa as an organisation: ethical or not?

by Thobile Madonsela | Published on 26 March 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Let’s imagine South Africa as an organisation, where everyone in society is an employee, members of parliament are the senior management team and the president is the Chief Executive Officer. Then, let’s think back and ask: what sort of work environment have we been experiencing in this organisation in recent years? Or, to frame the question a little differently: has this organisation had an ethical culture? 

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Cape Town, meet "epistemic responsibility"

by Grace Garland | Published on 26 February 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Our beliefs are powerful, not just because they inform our own behaviour, but also because they have an influence on the beliefs and behaviour of others. The duty to strive to believe the truth, rather than a comfortable falsehood, is known as epistemic responsibility. And it appears to be something else of which Cape Town is in short supply.

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Understanding and combating Counterproductive Work Behaviours

by Dr Paul Vorster | Published on 25 January 2018 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Counterproductive work behaviour, or CWB, is defined as “…intentional acts by employees that harm organisations or their stakeholders” (Spector et al., 2006, p. 30). CWBs include numerous destructive behaviours that may harm the organisation directly, or negatively affect its reputation, stakeholders, and/or ethical culture.

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Reflecting on 2017: Annus horribilis or Annus mirabilis?

by Prof Deon Rossouw | Published on 29 November 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

This year was without any doubt an eventful and turbulent one. As we approach the final month of this year, one cannot help but reflect on whether it was a horrible year (annus horribilis) or a wonderful year (annus mirabilis).

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The Ethics Practitioners' Association takes its first steps

by Grace Garland | Published on 25 September 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter


On Friday, 8 September 2017, a group of people gathered in a medium-sized meeting room at Discovery’s headquarters in Sandton. No fanfare belied the auspiciousness of the occasion; no flashy marketing hinted at the calibre of attendees. In fact, the opposite is true: the launch of the Ethics Practitioners’ Association (EPA) was understated in every way.

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No One Moves, Listens or Cares

by Liezl Groenewald | Published on 25 August 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

When I started working at The Ethics Institute nine years ago, no one told me that I would be traveling frequently.  I thought it was a cushy office job! But since I moved to Cape Town, travelling on a weekly basis became part of my existence. I am not complaining about it, but there are a few things at airports and in planes that never cease to amaze me.

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"Never take from the people you lead"

by Dr Paul Vorster | Published on 25 July 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter

Being an industrial/organisational psychologist by profession, and working for years in the field of selection and assessment of leaders in industry, I have come across a large diversity of opinions about leadership. And the truth is, the more I have learned about different perspectives of leadership, the more confused I have become. It seems that everyone has an opinion on leadership: what it is, what is should be, and what it is not.

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