File Name: procurement ethics and integrity lecture note .zip
Ethical leadership demonstrates a high regard for values.
By supporting ethically sound behavior, managers can strengthen the relationships and reputations their companies depend on. Many managers think of ethics as a question of personal scruples, a confidential matter between individuals and their consciences. These executives are quick to describe any wrongdoing as an isolated incident, the work of a rogue employee. Ethics, after all, has nothing to do with management. In fact, ethics has everything to do with management.
Rarely do the character flaws of a lone actor fully explain corporate misconduct. Ethics, then, is as much an organizational as a personal issue. Managers who fail to provide proper leadership and to institute systems that facilitate ethical conduct share responsibility with those who conceive, execute, and knowingly benefit from corporate misdeeds. In addition, they deprive their organizations of the benefits available under new federal guidelines for sentencing organizations convicted of wrongdoing.
These sentencing guidelines recognize for the first time the organizational and managerial roots of unlawful conduct and base fines partly on the extent to which companies have taken steps to prevent that misconduct.
Prompted by the prospect of leniency, many companies are rushing to implement compliance-based ethics programs. Designed by corporate counsel, the goal of these programs is to prevent, detect, and punish legal violations. But organizational ethics means more than avoiding illegal practice; and providing employees with a rule book will do little to address the problems underlying unlawful conduct.
To foster a climate that encourages exemplary behavior, corporations need a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the often punitive legal compliance stance. An integrity-based approach to ethics management combines a concern for the law with an emphasis on managerial responsibility for ethical behavior.
When integrated into the day-to-day operations of an organization, such strategies can help prevent damaging ethical lapses while tapping into powerful human impulses for moral thought and action. Then an ethical framework becomes no longer a burdensome constraint within which companies must operate, but the governing ethos of an organization. The once familiar picture of ethics as individualistic, unchanging, and impervious to organizational influences has not stood up to scrutiny in recent years.
Consumers and attorneys general in more than 40 states had accused the company of misleading customers and selling them unnecessary parts and services, from brake jobs to front-end alignments. Nor did management set out to defraud Sears customers. Instead, a number of organizational factors contributed to the problematic sales practices. In the face of declining revenues, shrinking market share, and an increasingly competitive market for undercar services, Sears management attempted to spur the performance of its auto centers by introducing new goals and incentives for employees.
The company increased minimum work quotas and introduced productivity incentives for mechanics. The automotive service advisers were given product-specific sales quotas—sell so many springs, shock absorbers, alignments, or brake jobs per shift—and paid a commission based on sales. According to advisers, failure to meet quotas could lead to a transfer or a reduction in work hours.
Without active management support for ethical practice and mechanisms to detect and check questionable sales methods and poor work, it is not surprising that some employees may have reacted to contextual forces by resorting to exaggeration, carelessness, or even misrepresentation.
They also instituted a system of unannounced shopping audits and made plans to expand the internal monitoring of service. In settling the pending lawsuits, Sears offered coupons to customers who had bought certain auto services between and A number of people in the corporation, it turned out, had doubted the purity of the juice for several years before the CEO arrived.
Furthermore, the company lacked an effective quality control system, and a conclusive lab test for juice purity did not yet exist. No one considered the fact that the sale of adulterated or misbranded juice is a legal offense, putting the company and its top management at risk of criminal liability.
In , the company pleaded guilty to selling adulterated and misbranded juice. Two years and two criminal trials later, the CEO pleaded guilty to ten counts of mislabeling. Such errors of judgment rarely reflect an organizational culture and management philosophy that sets out to harm or deceive. More often, they reveal a culture that is insensitive or indifferent to ethical considerations or one that lacks effective organizational systems.
By the same token, exemplary conduct usually reflects an organizational culture and philosophy that is infused with a sense of responsibility. However, the decision to do a nationwide recall of Tylenol capsules in order to avoid further loss of life from product tampering was in reality not one decision but thousands of decisions made by individuals at all levels of the organization.
Acknowledging the importance of organizational context in ethics does not imply forgiving individual wrongdoers. Acknowledging the importance of organizational context need not imply exculpating individual wrongdoers. To understand all is not to forgive all. The consequences of an ethical lapse can be serious and far-reaching.
Organizations can quickly become entangled in an all-consuming web of legal proceedings. The risk of litigation and liability has increased in the past decade as lawmakers have legislated new civil and criminal offenses, stepped up penalties, and improved support for law enforcement. Both Sears and Beech-Nut, for instance, struggled to regain consumer trust and market share long after legal proceedings had ended. As more managers have become alerted to the importance of organizational ethics, many have asked their lawyers to develop corporate ethics programs to detect and prevent violations of the law.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines offer a compelling rationale. Sanctions such as fines and probation for organizations convicted of wrongdoing can vary dramatically depending both on the degree of management cooperation in reporting and investigating corporate misdeeds and on whether or not the company has implemented a legal compliance program.
What size fine is a corporation likely to pay if convicted of a crime? But it also depends on more controllable factors. The most important of these are reporting and accepting responsibility for the crime, cooperating with authorities, and having an effective program in place to prevent and detect unlawful behavior.
Acme Corporation was charged and convicted of mail fraud. The company systematically charged customers who damaged rented automobiles more than the actual cost of repairs. Acme also billed some customers for the cost of repairs to vehicles for which they were not responsible. Under the sentencing guidelines, however, the results could have been dramatically different. The following chart shows a possible range of fines for each situation:.
What Fine Can Acme Expect? Based on Case No. Such programs tend to emphasize the prevention of unlawful conduct, primarily by increasing surveillance and control and by imposing penalties for wrongdoers. While plans vary, the basic framework is outlined in the sentencing guidelines. There is no question of the necessity of a sound, well-articulated strategy for legal compliance in an organization. And even managers who claim to use the law as a guide to ethical behavior often lack more than a rudimentary understanding of complex legal issues.
Managers would be mistaken, however, to regard legal compliance as an adequate means for addressing the full range of ethical issues that arise every day. But conduct that is lawful may be highly problematic from an ethical point of view. Consider the sale in some countries of hazardous products without appropriate warnings or the purchase of goods from suppliers who operate inhumane sweat-shops in developing countries.
Companies engaged in international business often discover that conduct that infringes on recognized standards of human rights and decency is legally permissible in some jurisdictions. Legal clearance does not certify the absence of ethical problems in the United States either, as a case at Salomon Brothers illustrates. Four top-level executives failed to take appropriate action when learning of unlawful activities on the government trading desk.
Company lawyers found no law obligating the executives to disclose the improprieties. The executives were forced to resign, having lost the moral authority to lead. A compliance approach to ethics also overemphasizes the threat of detection and punishment in order to channel behavior in lawful directions.
The underlying model for this approach is deterrence theory, which envisions people as rational maximizers of self-interest, responsive to the personal costs and benefits of their choices, yet indifferent to the moral legitimacy of those choices. Tyler shows that obedience to the law is strongly influenced by a belief in its legitimacy and its moral correctness. People generally feel that they have a strong obligation to obey the law.
Discipline is, of course, a necessary part of any ethical system. Justified penalties for the infringement of legitimate norms are fair and appropriate.
Some people do need the threat of sanctions. However, an overemphasis on potential sanctions can be superfluous and even counterproductive. Employees may rebel against programs that stress penalties, particularly if they are designed and imposed without employee involvement or if the standards are vague or unrealistic. Management may talk of mutual trust when unveiling a compliance plan, but employees often receive the message as a warning from on high.
Indeed, the more skeptical among them may view compliance programs as nothing more than liability insurance for senior management. This is not an unreasonable conclusion, considering that compliance programs rarely address the root causes of misconduct. Management may talk of mutual trust when unveiling a compliance plan, but employees often see a warning from on high.
Even in the best cases, legal compliance is unlikely to unleash much moral imagination or commitment. The law does not generally seek to inspire human excellence or distinction. It is no guide for exemplary behavior—or even good practice. Those managers who define ethics as legal compliance are implicitly endorsing a code of moral mediocrity for their organizations. A strategy based on integrity holds organizations to a more robust standard.
While compliance is rooted in avoiding legal sanctions, organizational integrity is based on the concept of self-governance in accordance with a set of guiding principles.
The need to obey the law is viewed as a positive aspect of organizational life, rather than an unwelcome constraint imposed by external authorities. An integrity strategy is characterized by a conception of ethics as a driving force of an enterprise. Ethical values shape the search for opportunities, the design of organizational systems, and the decision-making process used by individuals and groups.
They provide a common frame of reference and serve as a unifying force across different functions, lines of business, and employee groups. Organizational ethics helps define what a company is and what it stands for. Many integrity initiatives have structural features common to compliance-based initiatives: a code of conduct, training in relevant areas of law, mechanisms for reporting and investigating potential misconduct, and audits and controls to insure that laws and company standards are being met.
In addition, if suitably designed, an integrity-based initiative can establish a foundation for seeking the legal benefits that are available under the sentencing guidelines should criminal wrongdoing occur. There is no one right integrity strategy. Factors such as management personality, company history, culture, lines of business, and industry regulations must be taken into account when shaping an appropriate set of values and designing an implementation program.
Still, several features are common to efforts that have achieved some success:. Success in creating a climate for responsible and ethically sound behavior requires continuing effort and a considerable investment of time and resources.
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Recognizing the need for an effective multilateral framework for government procurement, with a view to achieving greater liberalization and expansion of, and improving the framework for, the conduct of international trade;. Recognizing that measures regarding government procurement should not be prepared, adopted or applied so as to afford protection to domestic suppliers, goods or services, or to discriminate among foreign suppliers, goods or services;. Recognizing that the procedural commitments under this Agreement should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the specific circumstances of each Party;. Recognizing the need to take into account the development, financial and trade needs of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries;. Recognizing the importance of transparent measures regarding government procurement, of carrying out procurements in a transparent and impartial manner and of avoiding conflicts of interest and corrupt practices, in accordance with applicable international instruments, such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption;. Recognizing the importance of using, and encouraging the use of, electronic means for procurement covered by this Agreement;. Application of Agreement.
Handbook of Academic Integrity
The Procurement Cycle begins with the identification of a need and ends with the award of a contract. The intention with this definition is to simplify the procurement cycle and put it into context by excluding any elements that does not fall within this specific function. In some definitions, even elements of inventory control and logistics management are considered part of the procurement cycle, but they actually take place during Contract Administration. A clearer understanding is gained once the goal of public procurement is understood.
By supporting ethically sound behavior, managers can strengthen the relationships and reputations their companies depend on. Many managers think of ethics as a question of personal scruples, a confidential matter between individuals and their consciences. These executives are quick to describe any wrongdoing as an isolated incident, the work of a rogue employee.
Teaching ethics in public health programmes is not routine everywhere — at least not in most schools of public health in the European region. Yet empirical evidence shows that schools of public health are more and more interested in the integration of ethics in their curricula, since public health professionals often have to face difficult ethical decisions. The authors have developed and practiced an approach to how ethics can be taught even in crowded curricula, requiring five to eight hours of teaching and learning contact time. In this way, if programme curricula do not allow more time for ethics, students of public health can at least be sensitised to ethics and ethical argumentation. This approach — focusing on the application of seven mid-level principles to cases non-maleficence, beneficence, health maximisation, efficiency, respect for autonomy, justice, proportionality — is presented in this paper.
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