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Arguably not…given that fraud and corruption seem, if anything, even more solidly embedded in parts of business, national and international government. On the other hand, Nigel Krishan Iyer and Veronica Morino of Septia, make a very cogent case for the value of talking about fraud and corruption at Board level. You can see an excerpt of their film ‘Words in Action’ on Youtube.
Richard Minogue (The Anatomy of Fraud and Corruption and, forthcoming, Bad Governance and Good Intent) poses a very interesting conundrum on his blog. He argues that despite paying lip service to governance, companies condone sharp practice and, worse still, some companies even mark down employees who put ethics above short-term gain.
Weak people who are a waste of space in business! Rape cases that are not so bad, and rape cases that are not so good! Elderly disabled people in Birmingham on the receiving end of threatened budget cuts to the (totally essential) care that they receive. Women even being told they shouldn’t wear mini skirts after 35, or bikinis after 47, or high heels after 51. (Ageist, eh? I wonder what Joan Collins would say to that?). Housemaids in the Middle East being treated like slaves (really very nasty indeed).
I don’t think that you should cherry pick your prejudices. You can’t pick on the weakest. You can’t reserve your Duty of Care remedies for some and not for the others, or create special cases. If you do you will inevitably get into difficulties. You need joined up thinking. Repeat, you need joined up thinking. Otherwise you will get Equality Risk. You will lose hard-earned reputation (as in the case of the Toronto Police or Birmingham City Council). You will get into trouble with all sorts of people and the media, or you will have to eat your words (Ken Clarke MP please note).
The lawyers, who are paid to know exactly what they are doing, will always cost you lots of money.
All of the topics above are current scenario’s being reported in the media and Tony Morden has covered such cases in his book A Short Guide to Equality Risk. In it, Tony analyses components of an Equality, Diversity, and Discrimination (EDD) Agenda: equality, diversity, opportunity, and discrimination to assist you in protecting yourself and your organization from this politically sensitive, and high risk subject.
Marketing has been revolutionised by the extraordinary development of social media and this is as true of the challenge facing marketeers in the pharmaceutical industry as in every other sector. Gunter Umbach will be hosting a workshop with Forum Institute for Management, Germany, on the subject of his book Successfully Marketing Clinical Trial Results, on 21st September 2011 in Bonn.
This is the second in the promised series of posts highlighting Gower’s publishing programme in a given topic area for the next 12 months. I won’t attempt to document all our new books but rather a give you a flavour of some highlights.
Project and Programme Management
Is the largest single list within our current publishing, on the basis of number of books published and commissioned. There are several continuing themes to our new books in 2011:
Project Performance and Resilience
Many of our new titles are designed to help you address a particular aspect of your organization’s project or programme management or develop your capability or resilience for project delivery. Some books, such as Emanuel Camilleri’s Project Success or Michael Cavanagh’s Second Order Project Management, go to the heart of those strategies and techniques that don’t just secure project or programme delivery but ensure value and commercial success too. Others, such as David Cleden’s Bid Writing for Project Managers or Integrated Cost-Schedule Risk Analysis, the follow up to David Hulett’s wonderful Practical Schedule Risk Analysis, provide expert help on one or more specific element within project management.
The Context of Projects and Programmes
We have a clutch of titles in preparation for 2011 or early 2012 that offer perspectives on the context within which projects and programmes are managed. There are a couple of titles from Professor Darren Dalcher’s highly regarded series, Advances in Project Management, that do this particularly well, for example: Haukur Ingi Jonasson and Helgi Thor Ingason’s Project Ethics, Ron Basu’s Managing Project Supply Chains and Spirituality and Project Management by Judith Neal and Alan Harpham.
Programme or Program Management
We have some strong titles to follow on from Michel Thiry’s 2010 Program Management. Roger and Adam Davies’ Value Management does a good job of connecting programmes with strategy and their intended outcomes and the first of two books from the author of The Lazy Project Manager, Peter Taylor, provides those people responsible for their project or programme management office with a very pragmatic guide to leadership: Leading Successful PMOs.
People in Projects and Programmes
The final clutch of three titles I want to highlight are those that cover human factors or, if you prefer, people in projects. There are two follow up titles in this group: Kaye Remington’s Leading Complex Projects (which follows her 2008 book Tools for Complex Projects) and Lynda Bourne’s Advising Upwards (which is a follow up to her 2009 book, Stakeholder Relationship Management) . There is also Sharon Di Mascia’s Using Psychology in Project Management, which is another book that very successfully draws in models and pragmatic advice from outside the usual project methodologies.
And, if I am allowed a last minute, wild card entry, let me sneak in a mention for Penny Pullan and Ruth Murray-Webster’s A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management from the Short Guides to Business Risk Series; very definitely appropriate for anyone involved in project risk management.
Please do offer any feedback on this programme of publishing or, if you wish, you can contact me with your own subject suggestions, requests or even book proposals.
Jonathan Norman, Publisher
Imagine your company is working in a high-risk area of the world. You will want to take measures to ensure the resilience of your operations and to protect them from risk associated with terrorism, political instability or state-sponsored corruption. But what are the dangers of going too far? What are the risks of overstepping the line when your risk mitigation makes your company an actor in the politics of the region? There’s a fascinating piece on this the Harmattan Associates website written by Robert McKellar (author of our forthcoming Short Guide to Political Risk).
It is now acknowledged that there has been a general decline in ethical standards in the business world, perhaps due in part to a celebrity culture that overvalues wealth and shallow notions of ‘success’. Ethics used to be discussed only by philosophers and academics, but it is now apparent to business leaders that companies wishing to survive into the future have to develop effective protection against exposure to ‘ethical risk’.
Over the last few years, in the field of internal audit and in other disciplines dealing with the ethical aspect of a company, the expression “tone at the top” has been coined to define the fundamental influence that top management has on the rest of the organisation. This influence strongly contributes to defining the company culture.
There are many types of negative behaviour that management adopts that exert a strong influence on the style which will characterise it in the eyes of the employees. The following are some of the more popular examples of this behaviour.
- Communicates untrue results on company management to employees, shareholders and the public;
- Does not comply with accounting standards in order to pocket higher bonuses;
- Abuses company perks;
- Does not state a conflict of interest with the company;
- Does not comply with the code of ethics and company policies and procedures;
- Avoids internal controls for direct or indirect personal gain or to commit fraud;
- Does not take responsibility for decisions taken that are relevant to its sphere of competence;
- Uses company assets for personal purposes;
- Uses its position to control and manipulate employees;
- Uses working relationships (with suppliers, for instance) to obtain personal advantages.
Unless top management acts as a positive role model for employees, showing how to behave, the entire organisation will believe, at a subconscious level too, that the above behaviour is not important and that, therefore, everybody can adopt it. Experts in company fraud, for instance, highlight the fact that companies without an adequate tone at the top are more easily victims of fraud compared to those where management has adopted a style that is consistent with the moral values expressed by the company’s code of ethics.
In reality, companies often convey conflicting messages to their employees and by by doing so their conduct is perceived by the employees as a serious lack of professionalism on the part of management and leads to a sudden loss of trust.
When Donald Rumsfeld talked about ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ in terms of the Iraq War, he was talking the language of risk. I wonder whether he should also have been talking about ‘ignored knowns’; in other words, those risks which, in corporate terms, never really seem to feature on the radar of so many organizations. Dick Russill’s A Short Guide to Procurement Risk, Carlo Rotta’s A Short Guide to Ethical Risk and Nigel Iyer and Martin Samociuk’s A Short Guide to Fraud Risk are all candidates for the ‘ignored knowns’ list. Take a straw poll in your oganization. What sort of processes do you have in place for identifying and managing risks like these?