Why organisations need to have ethics disaster management plans

by Prof Leon van VuurenPublished on 25 October 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter, along with a press release version

Recently, several prominent and previously reputable organisations have experienced ethical failure. These include Volkswagen, Ford, KPMG, McKinsey, SAP in the private sector, and state-owned companies like Eskom, Transnet, Denel, SAA and others who are implicated in state capture. Irrespective of how such organisations are impacted financially – for example, loss in share price and decreased market capitalisation – there are also widening circles of financial and psychological damage to stakeholders. 

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A Nation Starved of Justice

Yet we must not lose sight of the real architects of state capture

by Kris Dobie | Published on 26 September 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter, along with a press release

South Africans are angry. And South Africans are hungry for justice. As a society, we have had to endure a significant amount of frustration at the lack of accountability from a clearly corrupt cabal of individuals who have plundered state resources for their own ends for several years.

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Restoring Trust Beyond State Capture

by Prof Deon Rossouw | Published on 25 August 2017 for The Ethics Institute monthly newsletter, along with a press release version on 28 August 2017

Ethics is a precondition for safe, just, and prosperous societies. This truism has been proven with the current siege of South Africa by state capture. If ethics is not embedded in society and in organisations, the inevitable result is a breakdown of prosperity, justice and safety. We saw this happening to South Africa under Apartheid, and we are seeing it now again with state capture.

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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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"Get the ethics right, and you will always be compliant"

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

Companies the world over often struggle to balance ethics and compliance. Those that are regulated often see compliance as pre-eminent. Yet many have come to recognise that to build a positive corporate culture it is important to establish the right mindset. That mindset, which should be based on an ethical framework of corporate values to guide decisions and behaviours, will be encouraged by the creation of a separate ethics function and will lead to better compliance as a result.

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Thoughts on Peace Building

Liezl Groenewald recently attended the 7th Annual Conference of the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe (EuroISME).  The theme of the conference ‘Restraint in War: Essential for a Just Peace?’ lent itself to interesting discussions about the relation between restrained behaviour on the battlefield and ius post bellum (conduct after war)

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7th Annual Ethics Conference reflections

It is a given that the tangibles of conferences are always going to be heavy. I have never attended one that didn’t clearly involve extensive prior organising and lugging. But what about the intangibles? What is an acceptable level of “heaviness” in the material to which delegates are exposed?

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Leadership Derailment

In the last few articles, we discussed “toxic leadership” (also referred to as destructive leadership) and presented their characteristics, as well as the characteristics of their followers and colluders.  However, toxic leaders are relatively rare. It is estimated that approximately 3 to 5% of the general population have psychopathic/sociopathic tendencies. Even fewer of these individuals are high-functioning enough to enter positions of power and survive political processes in organisations. More often, destructive leadership is confused with psychopathy/sociopathy. In fact, all leaders have destructive tendencies to some extent and often these tendencies are not related to sociopathy/psychopathy, but rather, to general personality characteristics.

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Toxic Leadership: Protecting the Organisation from Toxic Leaders and Colluders

In the article entitled “What are the characteristics that define toxic leadership” we speculated about the nature of Zuma and whether he fits the mould of a toxic leader. In light of recent developments, it becomes hard not to admit that Zuma has the characteristics of a toxic leader of which the defining characteristic is the damage he has done to the South African economy (toxic leaders tend to harm over the long-term).

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Toxic Leadership: The Characteristics of Colluders

In the last article on toxic leadership, we delved into the characteristics of susceptible followers. In this article, Dr Paul Vorster looks a little more closely at colluders and differentiates them from susceptible followers by understanding their motivations and describing their behaviours.

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Toxic Leadership: Characteristics of susceptible followers

It is interesting that toxic leaders are able to entrench themselves so quickly in organisations. If we look at some toxic leaders from the past it becomes evident that these individuals could never have reached the heights of their power without a solid follower base and colluders who helped them to meet their goals and gain power.

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