Managing ethical performance in organizations: Insights from the corporate world

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Medical organizations can learn at least three lessons from the recent spate of corporate scandals and the regulatory response they triggered. One is the importance of identifying and eliminating those conflicts of interest that pose unacceptable risks to an organization's reputation or to an industry's public profile. Second, although disclosing a risk attendant to a conflict of interest is of crucial importance, disclosures are not automatic absolutions, regardless of how full and complete they may be. Third, an organization's ethical performance is first and foremost a function of its culture. If there were any doubt, the likes of Enron Corporation and WorldCom confirmed that formal controls and legal sanctions are no substitute for the importance that members of an organization accord to playing by the rules and working with integrity.


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