How organizations can recover institutional ethics, integrity

July 31, 2012

Contact

Beverly Clark
404-712-8780
beverly.clark@emory.edu

As the Penn State scandal continues to unfold, institutional ethics expert Edward Queen says there are a number of lessons all organizations and institutions should learn: it can happen anywhere and don't believe your own hype.

"When you believe that you already are good, you don't start looking at places where people may have begun to cut corners," says Queen, ethics and servant leadership director at Emory University. 

The basis of an ethically engaged organization begins with committing to policies that back clearly defined and reinforced principles, Queen says. And, maintaining an ethical organization must be done everyday.

"Organizations constantly have to say 'It is written and we insist' not just 'It is written,'" he explains.

When an institution does find itself in the middle of an ethical scandal, like Penn State, there is a way forward.

"Once you admit to wrongdoing and are willing to step forward, individuals are willing to cut you some slack," Queen says. "It's when you don't acknowledge that failed, don't acknowledge that you've erred that things become increasingly challenging."