Letter to the Mayor of the City of Barrie

Backgrounder information

Councillors vote to reprimand Keenan Aylwin, following Integrity Commissioner report
Aylwin faces reprimand for breaching Barrie council’s code of conduct

Letter to the Mayor of the City of Barrie

1 June 2019

Jeff Lehman, Mayor
City of Barrie
70 Collier St. P.O. Box 400
Barrie, ON L4M 4T5

Your Worship,

We are writing to you today concerning Suzanne Craig, the City of Barrie’s “Integrity Commissioner” and her report to City Council regarding Councillor Keenan Aylwin.

We are greatly concerned that the report could potentially be influenced by her own biases and this could potentially be in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Act.

We come to this conclusion as she seems to ignore the fact that the complainant is an elected Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada. A party that has publicly supported positions in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of which the City of Barrie and its elected Council are required by law to uphold. This is a biased individual whom should be treated with “kid gloves” and any complaint treated as suspect. Mr. Brassard is taking the most extreme and unreasonable interpretation of Mr. Aylwin’s post.

As a result we request that Ms. Craig be placed on unpaid administrative leave while her intentions and biases are investigated by her immediate superior.

Sincerely yours,

Peter V. Tretter
President & CEO
Journey to Diversity Workplaces

Founder's Blog

Consent beyond the Hashtag

Warning: This article is for general purposes only. For specific legal advice please consult your attorney.

Wiktionary defines consent as:

“To express willingness, to give permission.”

In the era of Me Too, so many people seem to have forgotten a basic concept about consent… It’s about more than just sex. What is the best part? It’s also for minors.

Beyond sex

Consent remains integral to our lives. We give consent when we eat a burger at McDonald’s or get an IV at the hospital. Sometimes a formal process is involved such as a parent signing a permission slip for their child to go on a field trip.

Wiktionary defines assault as:

“An act that causes someone to apprehend imminent bodily harm.”

A doctor who does surgery on you without your consent is committing assault. As is a nurse who gives you fluids in your IV without consent. Sometimes as in the second case consent is passive. You decide it’s ok and say nothing. Or you’re unconscious and the medical staff have to make that choice for you. The law allows for this.

In Canada, for medical purposes, with a few exceptions, most provinces have not set an age in law at which a minor consents to a medical procedure. The generally accepted age is 16. However, even below that age if a child can be shown to understand what the doctor is saying and the possible consequences of having a medical procedure (or not) their informed consent must, by common law, be obtained.

For an employer, this means they have to tread lightly with all employees, even those below the age of majority. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work in Ontario. They have to consent, no matter what the task is. To do otherwise could risk injury to the employee and a giant fine for the employer. The onus is on the employer to explain the risks to the employee if there are any. Even a paper cut is a risk, albeit a small one.

Every day we encounter situations where we consent or we don’t. We eat that burger or we pick up a hammer and pound in that nail into the board. We balance the risks. However, that does put the onus on the person with the position of power from getting consent. In many cases, that’s the boss.


assault. (2019, April 9). Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 17:46, April 19, 2019 from

consent. (2019, March 24). Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 16:23, April 19, 2019 from

Knight, K. N. (2014, August 5). Consent of Minors to Medical Treatment. Retrieved April 19, 2019, from

This article was written by J2DW CEO Peter V. Tretter and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

Voices of our Nation

Diversity for Productivity

According to the University of Florida, people are living longer and the world’s globalization will require further interaction from people who are more diversified and come from an array of backgrounds. Typically, they work in diverse and varied environments and this raises questions about tracking this trend and adapting to it. Companies want to perform better in the business world and many would like to advance diversity as well.

The importance of a diverse work and business environment is to be able to maximize and capitalize on workplace productivity and effective management. This places a lot of responsibility on supervisors and managers. We see that the workplace environment is continuing to evolve with the times and that the culture and workplace will follow suit. Based on the report, Diversity in the Workplace from the University of Florida, companies looking to embrace diversity and have inclusive organizational structures will likely gain greater productivity and competitive advantages. Thus, those workplaces that do not choose to evolve will potentially lose productivity.

There are some questions that arise from companies planning or thinking about evolving. How do you do it? What forms will it take? To do it is simply to build a structure from which to onboard people from diverse backgrounds. The forms that it will take will be much more diverse and inclusive from the managerial side all the way down to interns. Of course, as noted in the research, “there is no single recipe for success.” The manager’s ability to be able to understand teamwork and the dynamics of the team in the workplace is very important. A manager or supervisor wants to look into things such as equal employment opportunities in order to capitalize on the larger talent pool, especially when looking at a broader base of the variables for potential employees.

In addition, the manager or supervisor may want to look into the means through which those throughout the hierarchy of the organization can find advancement. If an intern, they can potentially be promoted to part-time or full-time employment. If a full-time employee, they may be able to be promoted to some sub-managerial or supervisory role. As the article summarizes, a diverse set of teams can bring a higher value to organizations in addition to respecting individual differences that can provide an organization or business with a “competitive edge” and increase in “work productivity.”

Many workplaces in the modern era have diverse backgrounds, people, educational experiences and certifications, and so on. If this comes into play, then it will eventually result in a higher productivity of the organization as a whole towards its stated mission, mandate, and goals.

Green, K. et al. (2002, June). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools. Retrieved from

This article was written by volunteer blogger Scott Jacobsen and edited by volunteer editor Erin Murphy.


Are the costs of University worth it?

In this essay, I will present data from a research that Douglas. A. Webber finds to analyze whether college costs are worth the financial costs they implicate on the individual. In today’s competitive labour market, it is pivotal to know whether college costs are worth the effort. There are varying forms of education, and some occupations are better learned from on-the-job training.

Douglas A. Webber, in his paper, addresses through in an analytical approach whether it is a sound financial investment to go to college after high school. His approach takes the form of comparing the monetary costs associated with the 4 years of attending college with the monetary wage benefits that people who have attended college enjoy. He controls for settings such as major, student loan debt and ability in his analysis.


“The most recent graduating college cohort is burdened by an average of roughly $30,000 in student loan debt, while the national total has surpassed $1.2 trillion, a figure that some claim represents an economic bubble which could have substantial negative effects for future generations.”

Weber conducts this research due to the fact that college debt and people graduating college has been on the increase for a while now, with a number of students reporting a sense of non-fulfillment from their educations. This paper discards the opinions and conducts a quantitative analysis.


Weber makes use of 6 data sets in his analysis: NLSY79, NLSY97, 2014 ACS, CPS, 1993 NSCG and 2003 NSCG. He makes use of such varying data sets to control for different characteristics such as cognitive ability and age. This is important to make sure the analysis is done in a fair and accurate manner.


Weber formulates a methodology that aims to calculate the age at which the costs of a college education are surpassed by the benefits attained from attending college. The costs of a college degree include both implicit and explicit costs, implicit costs related to the forgone earnings from the time taken up when attending college. The model created caters for selection into college and specific majors based on cognitive and non-cognitive factors.
Weber uses regression models to calculate the age at which an individual would find a college education worthwhile.


Weber presents 6 tables in his results section, including summary statistics, simulated expected lifetime earnings, break even ages, and the discounted value of degrees. He presents a variation of some data at the 25th percentile of ability and for the discounted value of a degree, he presents a version that allows for major switching.

The most important of the tables that lead to the main conclusion is shown here.

The expected earnings include the possibility supported by statistics that college graduates are likely to not graduate in 6 years’ time. The college costs included in the analysis are $30,000 of debt at graduation at a 4.3% interest rate and $7000 per year not financed by debt.
Weber then discusses the time it takes for the expected value of a college degree to exceed that of a high school diploma. Results presented in the table below.

The notable results from the above table are that there is only one case where the expected value of a college degree will not surpass just a high school education when college expenses are high and the individual majors in Arts/Humanities. Most majors for different variations exceed their costs at some point during an individual’s life.

Conclusion and remarks:

Weber finds that attending college is a sound financial decision for most people and supports this claim by analyzing and controlling for rate of dropout, an ability of individuals, majors etc.

Weber admits that there needs to be added transparency to high school graduates about what exactly they are getting themselves into. High school graduates are at a young age when making the decision to go to college and finance this experience with debt; a lot of students might not fully understand the nature and payoffs of their decisions. Society plays a role in this too, in the way that society has created the notion that the best step forward after high school is college.

Another point to discuss for the Weber analysis is the lack of attention towards other implicit costs of college such as stress and mental health. Full credit is given to Weber for his thorough analysis and control of ability, and I assume the reason he did not include other implicit costs was the subjectivity of assigning a monetary value to a concept like stress, but I do believe it could have been incorporated somewhere into his model. An effort to estimate average yearly spending towards counseling by universities and distributing this to each individual is an example of a method that may have been used.

To wrap up, Weber takes the question of “Are college costs worth it?” and gives a thorough analysis in answering the question for the purposes of making it easier for high school students easier to choose or avoid college. My personal thoughts on reading the paper were quite ‘bittersweet’. It was insightful to see why most people choose to go to college, but there is a feeling of unease that I am reading this just as I am about to graduate college.


Webber, D. A. (2016). Are college costs worth it? How ability, major, and debt affect the returns to schooling. Economics of Education Review, 53, 296-310. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.04.007

This article was written by volunteer & co-op student Mohammadali Saleh.


The Gender Wage Gap Explained

Many famous individuals have used the quote “Women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes”, and although this fact is statistically true, there is a lot that is unexplained in it. The above fact only compares the two median wages of men and women and does not factor into account how the wage gap plays out in individuals with different education levels, different occupations or different ages. These factors are very important to take into account if we want to ever close the gender wage gap.

To explain much of the argument on the gender wage gap, I must first state that economists have modeled wages through the Mincer Wage Equation, which can be stated as:

The equation above can be interpreted as log wages is a function of the years of schooling, plus the amount of career experience, and career experience squared, and an error term and a constant term for other unaccounted for factors. In simpler words, employers reward employees for the amount of schooling and experience they hold.

Child-bearing responsibilities

June O’Neill wrote a paper in 2003 studying the gender wage gap in the US economy by looking at two population surveys. In his conclusion, he writes, “As I have shown in this paper, the unadjusted gender gap can be explained to a large extent by nondiscriminatory factors. Those factors are unlikely to change radically in the near future unless the roles of women and men in the home become more nearly identical.”

What June O’Neill meant to convey in her conclusive remarks is that much of the gender wage gap can be attributed to the fact that females are the only sex that is biologically able to produce offspring. It is not a discriminatory attribute that women have the ability to give birth, and this ability has continuously led to the difference in the amount men and women earn.

What usually tends to happen after college graduation in today’s labour market is after holding a stable job for a few years, when women are in their mid-twenties and thirties, they usually take some time off to give birth and nurture the child after birth. In a study conducted by Bertrand, Goldin and Katz to examine the gender wage gap in MBA graduates, they state that one of the principal reasons why there exists a big gender wage gap between men and women is that in the first fifteen years post-graduation, women take on more career interruptions and work shorter weeks because of household responsibilities. The study also finds that even though some women took modest breaks from work for parental leave, the labour market penalized these breaks greatly. The discontinuity in a professional career during this age is also the prime time to build one’s career.

Such discontinuity is penalized by a lower wage, and this is quite fair because the said individual took time off during a time where they could be obtaining prime experience in their careers. June O’Neill finds that 34% of women with children under the age of six were out of the work force between the ages of 25-44 compared to only 16% of women who were out of the workforce who did not have children. Making the choice to have a child is a quite strong indication of work discontinuity which will directly lead to a loss in experience gain and a lower wage.

Career choice

The science behind the labour market is centralized around human capital theory, where employees are rewarded with wages for their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and do so efficiently.

Again, it is no secret that some careers are better paid in today’s world than others. This is a harsh reality in some underpaid occupations, but in other cases, it is quite justifiable. Rewarding an occupation like a surgeon to perform life-saving operations is very fair in my opinion.

“The expectation of withdrawals from the labour force and the need to work fewer hours during the week are likely to influence the type of occupations that women train for and ultimately pursue” – O’Neill, 2003. This statement in his paper is given by examining the career choices that women have chosen and how they came to the decisions that they did through population surveys. Women tend to lean towards occupations where there is more leniency towards career discontinuity and careers where part-time worked is more readily available. A direct example of this is the nursing versus doctor industry, where most nurses are women. Nurses hold set shifts and know exact times when they will be working and so is more favourable to a mother who has to care for a child. As an emergency doctor that can be called in at any time during the day, your shifts can vary a lot and it would make life difficult to care for a child and be on-call at a hospital.


Much of the gender wage gap can be explained by the two factors that are outlined above. The fact that women take breaks during their working life to nurture children and build their households, and that women choose careers that are more flexible in the hours that employees are required to work, which is a result of the time off women need to take to have children.

Although this explains a lot of the gender wage gap, there is evidence to support that some of the wage gap is purely discriminatory. But there is some good news to accompany this, Pew Research Centre conducted a study that found that “The gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, particularly among younger workers…” and so there is some hope that someday we will be able to eliminate the gender wage gap completely.


Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2017, April 03). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from

O’Neill, J. (2003). The Gender Gap in Wages. The American Economic Review, 93(2), 309-314. Retrieved August 7, 2017, from

Bertand, M., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2010). Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2, 228-255. Retrieved August 04, 2017, from

This article was written by volunteer Mohammadali Saleh.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Journey to Diversity Workplaces.


Ethics, organisational culture and behaviours

I. Introduction

One of the big issues in ethics is the basic problem of how to create an ethical culture within

an organisation i.e. how culture shapes organisational behaviour. We have heard a lot about

how culture influences organisation by driving organisational behaviour. It is true that the

workforce is becoming more of a knowledge workforce and they are now not treated as being

“naturally lazy” or can only be motivated by money (suggested as Taylor theory – one of the

neoclassical management theories). Hence, excessive controls or rules might not be as

efficient as it used to be to curb employees’ behaviours. Culture then becomes a modern way

to manipulate organisational behaviours. It is obvious that, people might be reluctant to rules

because they have their own judgements. Moreover, the reverse psychology problem is so

common that when something becomes rule, people would try to figure out a way to get

away with it. Therefore, culture is then a perfect solution of diverting behaviour by the norm

without forcing anyone to obey it. This essay will analyse different approaches in the issue of

aligning ethics to culture so as to accelerate ethical behaviours.

II. The relationship between culture and ethics

Anand, Ashford and Joshi’s paper (2004) by analysing the most well-known corruption

scandals (Enron, Worldcom, etc.) has figured out their common features which are partly

created by rationalisation tactics and socialisation tactics. This means that rationalisation

allows people to justify their corruption and if this is collective used, new employees would

be affected accordingly and commit unethical acts (Appendix 1). Thus, culture considering as

the act of the norm cannot be ignored within an organisation as it drives ethical behaviours.

With the help of a euphemistic language, social cocoon and group attractiveness, the

rationalisation tactics and socialisation process become more intertwiningly facilitated, which

in turns leads to organisational corruption (Appendix 1). Ethical behaviour among employees

ensures that employees complete work with honesty and integrity. This is where the “magic”

happens after the tone of the top (particularly in ethics) has been passed down. The power

of the norm plays an important role in diverting behaviour because acting to what most of

other people do satisfies individual social needs. However, ethics can guide behaviours by the

code of ethics or policies and rules (which align the organisational goals). Having said that,

those rules should only establish a guidance or framework which help people make ethical

decisions. Furthermore, sometimes being ethical is actually self-harm. The clear example is

that most whistle-blowers after reporting wrongdoings because the feel it is ethical to do so,

are shamed against, got redundant, etc. all sort of bad consequences. Then, the norm power

is now actually more harmful and it acts as the “bad side of the blade”.

On the other hand, Anderson and Englebardt (2007) have explained this relationship by

various ways. They started by arguing that organisation involves a commitment of

relationship with a common identity of membership. Hence, the culture if formed by

communication and structures, which make culture greater than the definition of the norm.

Indeed, “Culture involves major systems of ideology and practice that constitute the

conditions of our daily affairs” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007), which is more than just

shared values. This requires organisations to establish the right membership identity and

framework of action that is culturally embedded. Therefore, culture would relate to ethics in

terms of the “interrelationships between the true and the good – between the knowledge

that justifies and the values that qualify” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007).

Militaru and Zanfir (2012) also shows the influence of organisational culture on ethical

principles internationally. In fact, organisational culture and ethical behaviour are

interdependent and this provides firms a competitive advantage in the long term. Hence,

once the culture is embedded, it is difficult to implement as it represents collective perception

of all individuals to the business values, morals and beliefs (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012). Thus,

“the economical performances of every company are influenced, sooner or later, by the

manner of applying business ethics” (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012).

Some researches have studied this relationship empirically. Valentine and Barnett (2003)

concluded that ethics code awareness and organisational commitment (as components of

organisational culture) are driven by perception; an ethics code awareness existing within a

company suggests higher ethical values and higher level of organisational commitment. Bejou,

Ennew and Palmer (1998) reveal a more particular relationship in the financial services sector

that customer perceive their satisfaction on many factors and ethics is one of them. According

to the authors, ethics directly affects satisfaction via the relationship quality but it also

influences satisfaction indirectly via trust factor along with customer orientation, expertise

and sale orientation. Obviously, ethics contributing to satisfactory customer relationships

assists enhancing organisational performance. Another similar study assessing employee

satisfaction (Koh and Boo, 2004), “indicates significant and positive links between ethical

culture constructs (i.e. top management support for ethical behaviour and the association

between ethical behaviour and career success within the organisation) and job satisfaction”.

Therefore, management is suggested to encourage organisational ethics to manipulate

organisational outcomes.

III. The problems of creating an ethical culture

Defining ethical behaviour

According to Business Dictionary, having ethical behaviour means “acting in ways consistent

with what society and individuals typically think are good values”. If we are considering the

culture environment in an individual society, following the norm does not necessarily mean

the act is ethical. Moreover, it also depends on individual perceptions as well. One person’s

ethical values are not the same as others. In addition, the ethical values of the norm changes

through time. For examples, Hilary Clinton used to be an anti-LGBT leader but when she ran

for the president, she actually changed and supported it just to allegedly adapt to the norm.

Therefore, it’s important to set the right culture to reflect what is truly ethical internally and

externally to the wider society. Since “the ethical philosophy an organisation uses to conduct

business can affect the reputation, productivity and bottom line of the business” (Kelchener,

n.d.), organisations have to constantly tailor and implement their ethical frameworks to align

with the demand of the society’s ethical necessities.

As the businesses are now more socially oriented rather than economically responsible,

culture seems to become the key in driving collective mind-set of individuals. Hence, Militaru

and Zanfir (2012) has argued that culture has to be managed by considering different level of

collective “mental programming” to drive behaviour at individual, collective and universal

level. Moreover, morality is also included in the definition of organisational culture. Internally,

what morally drives the perception of an ethical culture could be the board, company’s values

and history; or external factors such as national culture, technical, juridical or economic

factors could have impacted culture accordingly (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012). Lozano (1998)

explained the critical relationship of ethics and corporate cultures that this link is exposed

from 2 perspectives: corporate culture is part of the factors institutionalising ethics and

corporate culture is the base of forming corporate ethics. This is said to cause many

confusions in creating a corporate culture, since companies have to approach things

differently depending on which side of those perspectives they perceive. For example,

organisations deciding on their processes have to deal with the core cultural identity values

(difficult to change) or with expressions of culture (easy to change) (Lozano, 1998). Only when

companies are able to understand this, the definition and the execution of a corporate culture

could be emerged within an organisation.

Therefore, the relationship between ethics and culture seems to be Intricate due to different

paradigms being perceived. “The concept needs to be defined broadly enough to include

basic elements for a comprehensive definition, and it must be defined distinctly enough to

facilitate the examination of the concept” (Smith and Hume, 2005), especially for

organisations when they try to create or implement their culture.

Trust is everything

The mechanism of ethics and culture is interrelated with some factors such as the economic

and politic system (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007). It is a fact that trust in the economy is

fierce because it involves resources allocation (i.e. values determining). The reason is that

trusts help justifying for action and acts as the invisible hands so that the market goes back

to equilibrium from time to time. Culture maybe embedded in the economy that it entails

obligation and, and obligation entails morality (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007); However,

the reality is more complicated as multiple market economies are having obligations which

compete or contradicting. More importantly, the social system is the one which creates trusts.

Recently due to many events, the people seem to loose trust from the social system from

many huge political events such as the Scotland referendum, the Brexit, Donald Trump got

elected, etc. As Sir Bischoff (2016), the chairman of the financial reporting council, has said

that something must be done to restore trust and building confidence in business and

corporate sector in order to enhance economic development. Indeed, without trust, the

ethical values become more unstable than ever. For example, supporting Trump does not

mean that one person is unethical. However, most of his sayings are unethical from being

very racist to unreasonable (asking Mexico paying for the Wall); it is hard not to associate

Trump supporters with supporting unethical behaviours. The attention brings to the point

that the whole America is being divided just because of the ethical values associated with


It is stated by Kimmel (2015) that trust is more superior than compliance and ethics because

compliance requires enforcement, whereas, ethics and trusts are voluntary. Also, ethics is a

subset of trusts and being ethical does not guarantee trustworthiness. Hence, many papers

have claimed that “trust is essential for understanding interpersonal and group behaviour,

managerial effectiveness, economic exchange and social or political stability” (Hosmer, 1995).

In particular, trust within an organisation is proved to influence the association between

ethical environment and employee engagement (Hough, Green and Plumlee, 2016). In other

words, employee’ perception of an organisation’s ethics influences their behaviours in

engaging more in their work because they are more likely trust the organisation. Trust is such

an important factor in driving ethical culture; however, it is a personal choice. Hence, there

exists a challenge of how to making people place trust in the organisation in terms of ethics.

Without trust, the rationalisation of norm towards ethical behaviour would be non-existent.

In addition, the code of ethics might not be powerful enough to drive ethical behaviour

because the employees do not trust the organisation. Newer generations facing threat of

redundancy from financial crisis or technology advancement do not trust the organisations as

much as the previous generation did that they expected to stay with a company and work

there for the rest of their lives. Therefore, the degree of trust and loyalty to an organisation

has changed and it is a challenge for managers to figure out a way to gain trust so that it drives

ethical behaviours. As Brien (1998) has stated that “the culture is one that seeks to promote

trust in the profession and trust worthiness as a virtue exemplified in each individual”; thus

culture of trust would lead to ethical behaviours “at first by the hand, then through the heart”.

Culture Matters More than Codes

Militaru and Zanfir (2012) stated that “culture of ethical rules to meet up society’s expectation

but it does not provide instant benefits to firms”. It is true that corporate culture is proven to

gives companies with better competitive advantages and, eventually, superior profitability.

Nonetheless, those are long term so, with the short-termism concern of the management to

manage expectation, the culture might be neglected. Besides, in the long term, all companies

will be having what they called “corporate culture”, which does not make having a culture

unique as a competitive advantage anymore. Hence, this threatens the recognition of the

invisible benefits bringing by culture, or ethical culture in particular. Lozano (1998) referred

to this issue by a simple question “Do organizations have a culture or are they a culture?”.

Obviously, thinking organisation itself as a culture is better helping firms focus more on the

culture side of it without imposing culture as the sake of having it.

The pressure of having an ethical culture might be there but organisations focus too little on

how to manage it. Obviously, promoting an ethical culture just for the sake of having it

without enforcement will not work and it does not contribute anything to the organisation at

all. It would be a continuous process of understanding, improving, sustaining the ethical

behaviours. Specifically, implementation has to reflect what is perceived as general principles

and values of an organisation. The code of ethics or policies could be useful tool in shaping

culture as they established a baseline of what should be done and what should not. To

continuously improve and sustain this, it is essential to notice the effects of business

environment to ethics up to standards. Organisation also need to educate people and rewards

people to encourage ethical behaviours so that they can benefit the most from an ethical


Statistics from LRN (Marketwired, 2017) reported that management is trying to foster ethics

and compliance but it is just for the purpose of ticking the checklists. Specifically, 90% of chief

ethics & compliance officers agreed that their middle managers are able to communicate the

code and 70% ethics officers holds leaders accountable for their ethical behaviour.

Nevertheless, not many managers are aware of their responsibility of implementing or

actively supporting the code. Evidently, “too many companies don’t do anything with the

documents; they simply paste them on the wall to impress employees, customers, suppliers,

and the public” (Donaldson, 1996).

Enron is one of the great example in illustrating that “business ethics is a question of

organizational “deep” culture rather than of cultural artifacts like ethics codes, ethics officers

and the like” (Sims and Brinkmann, 2003). From a company with the status of being economic

and ethical, Enron’s collapse emphasises the intrinsic value between words and deeds. All of

those established code and procedures did not shed a line on the true culture of the company

where it is so competitive that employees were pushed to stretch the rules further and

further until the limits of ethical conduct are easily overlooked in the pursuit of the next big

success” (Sims and Brinkmann, 2003). The competitive culture creates pressures on earning

expectation over the boundary of what is ethically acceptable, while their ethical policies

were left in negligence.

Cultural conflicts

Culture does not stop at individual or group level; it could be extended to a larger paradigm

such as national level. It is obvious that, if culture means what people do things around here,

different countries may impose different ethical standards, values, conduct and culture. For

examples, many acquisitions made my Canadian banks in the US failed because of the ethical

culture of the banking industry in both countries. Canadian banks obey the “know your

customer rules” when accepting but US banks focus more on building customer base by their

network (asking a university friend to make a loan). Hence, it might be unethical in Canada to

bypass some of the “know your customer” criteria but it is how they do retail banking in the

US. Furthermore, the specific culture embedded in a country could be potentially affecting

business culture. As illustrated in Appendix 2 by Alas (2006), in a culture with undesired

practices, more undesired practices lead to higher need for ethical values and vice versa.

“People feel that they need some kind of regulation mechanism in an aggressive society, a

mechanism with strong interest groups and a strong hierarchy” (Alas, 2006). Reversely, a

culture full of desired practices where ethical values are well established, the need for ethics

is not as high. Thus, different ethical values across countries or subcultures creates cultural

conflicts, especially for multinational companies.

It is stated that organisational values would be more visible and effective if “values are

selected by leadership to make sure everyone understands what the organization stands for,

including ethical behaviour and social responsibility” (Ferrell and Ferrell, 2011). Another

example could be that the CFA institute established their professional code and ethical

standards as a principles based so that when they got into an ethical culture conflict situation,

the standards would guide them to solve the dilemma. For instance, if a CFA member lives in

a country with no security law and does business in a country with less strict law than the CFA

standards; he must adhere to the CFA standards (CFA institute, 2016). Davidson (1996) also

argued that many managers came working overseas then returned shortly after due to the

culture conflict of development and conflict of tradition. This is when the concept of the

“moral free space” emerges (good activity might be considered bad in other culture).

Therefore, it is suggested that “codes of conduct must be explicit to be useful, but they must

also leave room for a manager to use his or her judgment in situations requiring cultural

sensitivity” (Davidson, 1996).

IV. How to create an ethical culture?

“The leaders of a business may create an ethical culture by exhibiting the type of behaviour

they’d like to see in employees” (Kelchener, n.d.). The code of ethics seems to be a great tool

in curbing ethical behaviours. However, the tone at the top seems to be more important. A

research from Toor and Ofori (2009) reveal that ethical leadership plays a mediating role in

the relationship between employee outcomes and organizational culture. Specifically,

“ethical leadership is positively and significantly associated with transformational leadership,

transformational culture of organization, contingent reward dimension of transactional

leadership, leader effectiveness, employee willingness to put in extra effort, and employee

satisfaction with the leader” (Toor and Ofori, 2009). We can see that people from Trump’s

cabinet are the ones who have the same philosophy as him. Deregulation, for instance, could

ruin the corporate governance system to ensure market functions ethically and people have

spent years developing it. I am really curious to know what will happen when this tone of the

top is passed down to organisations, society and individuals. Some signs have been shown

from the fact that Uber is still accepted by people even though it has a bad reputation of a

very unethical of culture from the CEO (lack of respect for employees, arrogant, etc.) to

company image (“male-dominated, high octaine investment banking” – Leigh, 2017) and


It is suggested that managers should develop more “humane and future-oriented practices”

depending on the characteristic of a specific entity and its ethical dimensions (Alas, 2006).

According to Alas (2006), over-regulated should be abandoned because the internal

mechanism would “encourage creative solutions, risk taking, and learning from mistakes”.

This inner mechanism is also said to lead by collectivism of the entity itself instead of group

collectivism. Moreover, “Managers should avoid aggressiveness in social relationships and

also avoid high levels of power distance” (Alas, 2006). Hence, given the importance of the

code, it should not be overpowered.

Sinclar (1993) discussed two main approaches managers to improve organisational ethics via

culture: the unitary culture approach and the subcultural approach. An organisation with a

unitary culture consider ethics bring in common shared values but it does not always lead to

morality because it excludes self-reflection. On the other side, subcultures within an

organisation nurture ethics from self-reflecting instead of imposing standards. By

understanding this, managers could better reflect cultures and get the best mix of each into

the organisation.

The role of the Board is also important in “establishing and delivering the right behaviours

and importantly the right incentives” (Bischoff, 2016). They can do this by applying the

mechanism illustrated in Appendix 3. It is obvious that one the culture of Ethics and

Compliance is embedded, companies have to continuously implement and assess it using the

factors specified in the chart with the principle performance of people, process and

technology. As the environment is changing dynamically, ethical values could be successfully

reflected in culture using this mechanism.

V. Conclusion

The individuals’ moral structure is so complex than what any organization includes as their

culture. “By a careful examination of a culture that flourishes under the concept of organizing,

a moral organisation is continuously making decisions based on ethical considerations, mixed

with political systems, and social enactments” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007). Poor culture

would lead to a widespread of bad behaviour, which in turns will taint the organisation

ethically. “For that we require a concerted effort to improve the integrity of business and its

connectivity with society” (Bischoff, 2016). As mentioned above, the Code should be tailored

to the best suitable practice in each organisation. As the value ethics brings into the

organisation is intangible and long term, it is necessary to measure it with the right proxy so

that it is well transferred and interpreted within the organisation. Moreover, Bischoff (2016)

has stated that “we need to promote a culture in our organisations that resonates with

employees and other stakeholders important to us, as much as with the top management”.

Hence, companies that are on the way of designing an ethical culture should analyse what

values are best perceived by their employees and clients in terms of cultures. For the ones

with the culture already emplaced, they should continuously enforce, assess and improve it.


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1. Rationalisation and socialisation of the norms

(Anand, Ashford and Joshi, 2004)

2. Ethics in countries with different culture dimensions

(Alas, 2006)

3. Ethical framework

Voices of our Nation

What Happens When Workers Get Real About The Biggest Problem In America.

Workplace ethics and integrity are crucial elements of employment; both these elements contribute to workplace profitability.  Every workplace should clearly specify what is acceptable behavior and what is not at the outset of hiring. It is important for workplaces to summarize expected conduct in job descriptions or outline these expectations during the interview process. Behavior guidelines should typically address topics, such as harassment, work attire and acceptable language. Employees who don’t follow the rules outlined in a code of conduct may receive written and verbal warnings, and ultimately be fired.

A key component to workplace ethics and behavior is integrity, or being honest and doing the right thing at all times. Workplace integrity starts with honesty and trustworthiness. Integrity requires following through with our word and being honorable with our actions. When employers and employees have integrity, it can create a workplace environment that is respectful and professional. Honesty should be valued in every communication and transaction between employers and employees. Integrity stems from employees being honest with themselves, completing tasks effectively and meeting workplace expectations. Ethical employees are what build a good reputation for a workplace.

Ethics are the glue that can hold workplaces together. Employers must understand the differences between moral values and ethical principals. Moral values are what guide our behaviour while ethical principals are the ways we are expected to act in the workplace. It is also important employees understand the meaning of each of these terms and understand what they can do to ensure their behavior aligns with workplace expectations.

Ethical and behavioural guidelines in the workplace often place a high amount of importance on dedication. Although possessing the necessary skills is essential, a strong work ethic and positive attitude can carry an employee a long way. Dedication is often viewed in the business world as contagious, meaning that employees putting forth a solid effort can often inspire their co-workers to give the same level of effort to their job – ultimately enhancing the productivity of the workplace. Employers and employers taking responsibility for their actions is essential when it comes to workplace ethics and behavior. This means showing up on scheduled workdays, as well as arriving on time and putting in an honest effort into completing assigned tasks while on the job. Employees who exhibit accountability are honest when things go wrong and then work toward a resolution while remaining professional at all times.

A vital aspect of the workplace is working well with others in all levels of a company. Ethics and integrity can help to increase the morale and productivity within a workplace. In many instances, those who are not considered “team players” can face demotion or even termination. On the other hand, those who work well with others can advance.

Following the outlined workplace behaviour may not always eliminate all unethical issues. The best defense against unethical issues is to train employees on how to properly handle unethical situations with integrity. Successful workplaces understand the causes and detrimental effects of negative ethical behaviour. Employers then attempt to limit the amount of unethical issues by creating a code of workplace ethics that encourages behavior that is professional and ethical. It is important that employers understand the strengths and weaknesses of each employee to be able to maximize the potential of each employee. When employers are willing to implement strategies that promote integrity along with ethical and professional behavior, it allows the workplace to be productive and successful.

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson, and edited by volunteer editor Parul Datta.

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