Compliance and Integrity


In the earliest stages, organizational ethics centered on the narrow perspective of ethics—the notion of compliance. Are we following the laws? Are we at risk from litigation? If so, how do we minimize that risk?

Ethics programs matured and ethics officers, most of whom are selected from the managerial ranks with little, if any, special preparation, developed increased sophistication regarding the challenges facing their organizations. Both the ethics officers and their organizations began to embrace personal and corporate values in decision making (value-based decision making) as the logical expansion of the definition of what it means to be ethical. What has emerged is what many ethics officers today characterize as the “best practices” model of the ethics office and of a values-based corporation.

But change continues. What is emerging today is a more holistic definition of what it means to be a “good” corporation. This new, global view will again help to reshape the responsibilities and focus of the ethics officer.

The shift to a global perspective means another broadening of the definition of ethics. “Global Integrity” is the latest descriptor, and it embraces both compliance and ethics. It also adds concern for rule of law, human rights, good governance, labor/child labor concerns, anti-corruption/anti-bribery, concern for the environment, safety, social responsibility, good corporate citizenship, and respect for the whole diverse array of local cultures to the definition. This increases the organization’s obligation to reach beyond traditional company boundaries to consider how decisions would affect the surrounding community. One consequence of this new global definition of the organizational ethics is increased scrutiny by stakeholders, especially advocacy groups and the media.

Corporate ethics officers, especially those in multinational corporations and/or corporations with global suppliers/markets, are being challenged with fundamental questions in this expanded integrity area. Perhaps the most common, and most challenging, is how the corporation will balance the desire for global standards (consistency) against the need for local application of standards.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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The Swivel-Chair Potato


Like the television addict, the full-time computer operator runs a significant risk of turning into a swivel-chair potato. With the loss of time perspective, it becomes all too easy to neglect physical exercise. This can lead to poor cardiovascular tone, varicose veins, obesity, constipation, hemorrhoids, and back-ache, as well as, decreased mental alertness. As important as the furnishing surrounding the computer terminal are the time and space for a little office exercise.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Stimulus Generalization


Stimulus generalization refers to how people recognize the same or similar stimuli in different settings. In other words, it is the process by which they can generalize a contingent from one setting to another. Following an initial stimulus response consequence sequence, a person learns in behaviors likely to produce some kind of reinforcement. Later, when presented with a similar stimulus in different surroundings, he or she knows that the same response is likely to elicit a similar consequence.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Problem-solving at the Upper Management Level


Full step-by-step application of the process, documented on chartpad or notepad, is required most often for concrete problems whose identity can be directly observed or easily visualized. These largely are mechanical, tangible situations.

At the upper management level, however, application of the process often consists of use of the ideas of the process. This includes discussion of a situation in al l its dimensions rather than formulation of hypotheses based on experience; attention to distinctions of identity, location, timing and magnitude rather than informed speculation alone; and testing of possible causes against the facts surrounding a situation rather than immediate action directed at the cause suggested by informed speculation. Data may be recorded and notes taken, but use of the process at upper levels of management is usually observable in the character of the questioning and the nature of the investigation. We observe people using the common language of Problem Analysis to organize their information, communicate it, and put it in perspective. They are sharing information through the channels of a systematic process. They are using words that will clarify each individual’s contributions.

Busy managers are not avoiding responsibility when they tell subordinates, “I want you to solve your own problems.” They have neither the time nor the specific skills to personally guide their subordinates’ problem-solving efforts. The truth of the matter is that managers who become directly involved in problem solving are subject to criticism for failing to set priorities on their own time or to delegate appropriately—in short, for failing to manage their operations. Managers need not have all the right answers. What is required of them are the ability and willingness to ask the right questions. The kind of questioning we use in specifying, in identifying distinctions and change, and in testing possible causes lends itself well to the process of assessing the logic and the work that other people have contributed to resolving a problem.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Concepts of ISO 140001


This standard provides organizations with the elements for an environmental management system (EMS), which can be integrated into other management systems to help achieve environmental and economic goals. It describes the requirements for registration and/or self-declaration of the organization’s EMS. Demonstration of successful implementation can be used to assure other parties that an appropriate EMS is in place. It was written to be applicable to all types and sizes of organizations and to accommodate diverse geographical, cultural, and social conditions. The requirements are based on the process and not on the product. It does, however, require commitment to the organization’s EMS policy, applicable regulations, and continual improvement.

The basic approach to EM begins with the environmental policy, which is followed by planning, implementation and operation, checking and corrective action, and management review. There is a logical sequence of events to achieve continual improvement. Many of the requirements may be developed concurrently or revisited at any time. The overall aim is to support environmental protection and prevention of pollution in balance with socioeconomic needs.

The standard is not intended to create nontariff barriers or to change an organization’s legal obligations. In addition, it does not include aspects of occupational health and safety management, although an organization may include these aspects in the documentation.

In order to understand the requirements, a few definitions are necessary. Environment is defined as the global surroundings in which an organization operates and includes air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans, and their interaction. Environmental aspect is defined as an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. Examples are wastewater discharge, air emissions, and energy use. Environment impact is defined as any change, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s activities, products, or services. Examples are impacts on habitat, water supply, and soil erosion. Environmental objective is an overall environmental goal, arising from the policy statement, that an organization sets for itself and which is quantified when practical. They define how the policy will be achieved. For example, an objective could be to control the temperature of the wastewater effluent. Environmental target is a detailed performance requirement and should be quantified when practical. It needs to be met in order to achieve the objective. For example the wastewater temperature should be controlled between 10 and 14 degrees centigrade.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Delayed Performance


Delayed performance will always justify a claim of damage where it can be shown that loss was occasioned by the delay. Most courts hold, however, that delayed performance will not be a material breach justifying rescission unless performance by a certain date is a condition precedent in the contract. If the late performer has any reasonable excuse for delay, the courts may allow damages but will seldom agree to rescission.

In agreements for the sale of marketable merchandise, however, a contract calling for shipment or other performance within a designated time is generally held to be a condition precedent. The difference between merchandise contracts and other contracts is in the position of the injured parties. A delay of a week in obtaining possession of a new home would not likely be crucial to the average home buyer. But a merchant’s success depends on the prompt delivery of goods to customers. Often advertising and sales programs are scheduled around specific delivery dates. Consequently, a delay in the shipment of merchandise is usually held to be a material breach.

Delay cannot be tolerated indefinitely in any kind of contract, however. After the passage of a reasonable time without performance the courts will permit rescission in almost any kind of contract. What is a reasonable time will vary with the type of agreement and all the surrounding circumstances. If no date is specified in the agreement, the courts interpret this to mean that performance must be done within a reasonable time. When time is of great importance, the contract should always be drafted to read that “time is definitely of the essence in the performance of this contract.”

In a bilateral contract, the injured party cannot regard the other party as being in default until the injured party has offered to perform. In legal circles, this offer by the injured party is called a tender. Depending on the terms of the contract, the tender must be either an offer to pay or an offer to perform a service.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.