Culture and code of ethics: Connecting the dots through measurement

Article excerpt – By Ruth Steinholtz and Teri Quimby, JD, LLM in Ethikos Volume 36, Number 4. October 2022:

Organizational culture seems to be discussed daily, yet few can define it. For our purpose, we can use a simple definition: the way we do things around here. Edgar Schein’s three components are useful for a more precise and enduring definition: underlying assumptions and beliefs, norms and values, and artifacts that reflect these.[1] The next stumbling block is cultural measurement, a controversial topic. Exactly which aspects of culture are being measured by different assessment tools is not always clear. In addition, many assessments purport to measure culture against a preconceived standard of what “good” should look like.[2] One established measurement system being utilized is the Barrett Cultural Values Assessment (CVA), which has several advantages for integrity practitioners. It measures culture through the medium of the values and behaviors present in the organization. It aids risk assessment by essentially measuring “culture risk,” or the extent of dysfunction that can lead to disengagement and increase the risk of unethical behavior. Whichever system is used, leaders must understand their organization’s culture(s), track what changes over time, and know whether the ethical code has the desired effect.

Read the full article in Ethikos Volume 36, Number 4. October 2022