By Cynthia Schoeman
The concept of organisational culture surfaced in the late 1970s and is as relevant in the workplace today as it was then. Amongst the wealth of theories and thought leadership on the topic, the definition of culture as “the way things are done around here” is widely recognised. So too is it generally accepted that values play a significant role in shaping culture and that, in turn, culture shapes behaviour in organisations. The quest for more ethical workplace conduct makes culture especially pertinent and it makes the attainment of an ethical culture a high-priority goal.
Leaders who aim to achieve this need to start by understanding the value of an ethical culture, such as that it produces higher levels of individual accountability and avoids the need for excessive regulation. An ethical culture serves to improve employee commitment, investor and market confidence and customer loyalty, which collectively enhance the company’s reputation and brand equity. A sound ethical culture also positively impacts risk management, reducing the likelihood of high costs and other negative consequences associated with ethical breaches.
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