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Integrity - use of values or principles to guide action in the situation at hand.

Below are links and discussion related to the values of freedom, hope, trust, privacy, responsibility, safety, and well-being, within business and government situations arising in the areas of security, privacy, technology, corporate governance, sustainability, and CSR.

Corporate Policies and Governance, 24.3.04

Corporate Policies, Corporate Governance

By: Chris Koressis, Oct 2002


Subjects that should be addressed by corporate policies include:

  • Compliance with laws, regulations, and accounting standards.
  • Whistle blowing. These policies should address the obligations of employees to the company and its stakeholders with regard to reporting wrongdoing and also the protections against termination that employees have for doing so.
  • Records retention and destruction, including how records should be categorized, how long each category of record should be retained, and what records can be destroyed at some point.
  • Ethics and business practices.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Confidential information and trade secret protection , including what steps employees must take to protect a company's confidential information and that of third parties.
  • Internet and e-mail use.
  • Privacy, including what legal obligations a company has in the absence of a privacy policy and whether that default position can be improved from the company's perspective by drafting a policy. Privacy policies should also address how such guidelines should be brought to the attention of customers.


    Policy Tune-up

    Companies should review their policies from time to time to ensure that they are up-to-date and address all legitimate issues. However, here are seven steps that companies should consider taking immediately with regard to their policies:

  • Consolidate all existing policies and eliminate duplication. Rather than providing a safety net in efforts to cover all possible scenarios, duplication instead creates confusion and inconsistency that can be exploited in a lawsuit.
  • Develop a standard format and method of organization for policies. This makes policies easier to find, read, and amend as necessary to reflect changes in legislation and case law.
  • Create internal consistency among present policies. Some polices must be detailed and lengthy, and procedures often must be specified as part of a given policy. This level of detail, however, increases the risk that internal inconsistencies will appear, such as the use of undefined jargon, improperly used terms, and procedures that contradict the intent of a policy.
  • Ensure that all applicable legislation and regulations are followed.
  • Develop a process for employee training. Policies that are not communicated to employees and implemented through training are ineffective. A company should not rely on such policies as a defense to a lawsuit, nor should it use such a policy to fire an employee who breaches it. Moreover, for employees to buy into company policies, they need to understand how corporate policies protect them as individuals and the company against liability.
  • Identify gaps in policy and amend or draft new policies to address them.

    The integrity of an organization ultimately depends on the character of its employees, from the top down. Corporate policies will not prevent a dishonest officer or employee from engaging in fraud or other misdeeds. They will, however, make a company more attractive to its stakeholders and help it avoid potential liability.

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    "We shall need compromises in the days ahead, to be sure. But these will be, or should be, compromises of issues, not principles. We can compromise our political positions, but not ourselves. We can resolve the clash of interests without conceding our ideals. And even the necessity for the right kind of compromise does not eliminate the need for those idealists and reformers who keep our compromises moving ahead, who prevent all political situations from meeting the description supplied by Shaw: "smirched with compromise, rotted with opportunism, mildewed by expedience, stretched out of shape with wirepulling and putrefied with permeation.
    Compromise need not mean cowardice. .."

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy, "Profiles in Courage"


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