Week That Was in Ethical Systems, 4/14/14-4/27/14

Today we have a roundup of articles from the past two weeks:

Making Use of Non-Financial Disclosures, in The Wall Street Journal

A recent survey found that 9 out of 10 investment professionals said non-financial disclosures (e.g., performance data related to the environment, governance, social responsibility, anti-corruption, and bribery) played a “pivotal role” in their decision-making in the past year. Investors used this information to manage risk, particularly the “business impact of regulation.” Although it remains difficult to “meaningfully compare companies’ data,” we are encouraged by the interplay of disclosure and decision-making, which will lead participants to think carefully about what information is required and how it should be measured, hopefully fostering a more open and thoughtful business environment in the long run.

5 Reasons Nice-Guy Leaders Actually Finish First, in Fast Company

Barry Salzberg, Global CEO of Deloitte, has five suggestions based on traits shared by the most inspirational and effective leaders he has known: (1) Commit to diversity; (2) Encourage employees to take risks; (3) Have the highest ethical standards; (4) Don’t keep employees chained to their desks; and (5) Never be too busy to say “Thank you.”

How coffee can keep workers honest, in Fortune Magazine

In research published in the March issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, subjects who got an extra boost of caffeine consistently balked when researchers urged them to cheat, while those who were just exhausted showed a marked willingness to cast conscience aside and go along with the deception.​ Because sleep deprivation is common (and sometimes a point of pride) among many who work in business, companies should give thought to whether their employees are alert to their responsibilities and the ethical implications of their decisions. Possible solutions include free coffee, nap rooms, and careful scheduling to avoid tasks requiring self-control when working long hours.

Compliance Versus Growth, in The Wall Street Journal

Compliance can mean less business and slower business in the short term, but it also means less investment risk and reputational damage in the long run. Corporate leaders who worry about spending too much time or money on compliance issues should ask whether their concerns are emblematic of short-term thinking. Ethical Systems contributor Marc Hodak has recently elaborated on the problem of short-termism in business.

Good Business: Why Placing Ethics Before Profits Pays Off, in Gulf Business

Ethics is a full time business and every firm needs to make an effort to be morally upright in all its dealings, writes the president and CEO of Philips, Middle East and Turkey. We continue to make note of the growing ranks of corporate leaders taking public stances for ethics and outlining visions of a more ethical business climate. We know from current research that good ethics is good business, but as more and more organizations implement ethical practices in a systemic way, the returns on ethical behavior should only increase.