How a Lack of Accountability Leads to CEO Unethical Behavior

Although CEOs often dictate company culture, and might sometimes even seem above the rules, recent research indicates that company structures are increasingly necessary to monitor upper-level executives and to hold them accountable for their behavior.
Putting practices and strategies in place to hold executives accountable to ethical requirements is necessary and can save corporations many headaches in the long run.

Recent Trends

As surprising as it might seem, recent research conducted by PwC’s Strategy branch concludes that CEO’s are being forced out of their positions for ethical violations more than ever before. 
CEO Unethical Behavior Chart
CEO Unethical Behavior is Leading to More Forced Resignations

CEO unethical behavior includes things like scandal, fraud, insider trading, incorrect CVs, and sexual harassment. Although the data seems to indicate that these behaviors are increasing steadily over time, it actually could be that external pressures are growing.

Stakeholders and the wider public are better able to monitor company and executive actions, and they are becoming increasingly critical of negative behaviors. Whether this trend stems from CEOs becoming more immoral or from the public becoming more demanding, companies are still responsible for monitoring CEOs so that forced resignations never even become an issue.

Using Accountability to Monitor CEO Ethics

As stakeholders and the public are holding CEOs more accountable, how can the companies themselves prevent employees from feeling a lack of accountability? It all starts with creating a widespread culture of results-oriented monitoring and incentives.
The CEO is the most externally-visible employee,  but all company employees should be expected to uphold a level of accountability and openness to the HR department.
Kristin Rivera, who co-authored the PwC CEO Turnover study, suggests three cultural changes that HR can put in place to monitor ethics:

  • Make sure that employees are not incentivized to act unethically.
  • Develop financial controls and processes to discourage unethical behavior.
  • Implement systems that prevent employees from rationalizing misconduct.

All employees must feel like their actions are monitored, and Human Resources teams can make that need a reality.

Software Solutions to Accountability

But how do HR teams make sure that these large-scale culture changes are actually adopted? Software can provide a useful and easily-implemented solution. Task management software can allow HR teams to assign compliance tasks to employees and to monitor their progress. Furthermore, tools like CommandHound have been built from the ground up to drive accountability by tracking individual performance against key actions.
By monitoring which employees are complying with the tasks assigned to them, HR teams can deliver incentives for good behavior and keep an eye on behaviors that might turn sour. 
HR Ethics Rules and AccountabilityHR Ethics Rules Can Make Companies Function Better
It can take courage and consistency to make sure that these ethical culture rules apply equally to every employee at a company, from the lowest level to the CEO. But if HR teams develop systems to monitor ethics, they will be able to curtail CEO unethical behavior and to maintain a culture of accountability in the workplace.
Interested in learning more about implementing accountability systems in the workplace? 

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