Developing and Using Business Ethics Scenarios

Publication type: Good practice guide
01 November 2012

Tags: Training

Scenario-based training brings to life ethical dilemmas for employees and helps to embed ethical values into company culture and behaviour. This practical guide provides advice on developing and choosing different types of scenarios and facilitating scenario-based training. As well as corporate case studies, the guide includes over 15 IBE scenarios relating to different stakeholder groups with questions to prompt discussion.

Speed read

Chapter 1 examines why scenarios are a useful training tool, the different types of scenarios and issues they can cover and in what situations they can be used.

Chapter 2 outlines what to consider when developing and choosing scenarios, and Chapter 3 looks at how to use and facilitate scenario based training.

Chapter 4 gives some examples of IBE scenarios.

Training is an essential element of a corporate ethics programme. Failing to train staff in the importance of ethical values and how to use them leaves companies open to integrity risk and reputational damage. Yet, IBE research has found that only 62% of British employees report receiving any training on standards of ethical conduct, even though businesses that train their staff to understand and implement codes of ethics have been found over the long term to outperform financially those that do not.

Legislation, such as the UK Bribery Act 2010, makes the pursuit of an ethical culture all the more important. The Act essentially requires that companies take steps to prevent bribery by having ‘Adequate Procedures’ in place. In practice, this means not just giving employees a copy of the code of ethics (or anti-bribery policy), but training them in its relevance and application as well.

The goal of an ethics programme is to embed ethical values into company culture so that they are reflected in the way that business is actually done. This requires more than just imparting knowledge – the challenge is to communicate the relevance and importance of high ethical standards at all levels and locations.

This Good Practice Guide shows how to meet this challenge through the use of scenarios to sensitise staff to the ethical dilemmas they may face in their day-to-day work and by giving them the confidence to deal with those dilemmas in a manner consistent with the organisation’s ethical values.

Staff receive different forms of corporate communications every day - from their manager, from the CEO, from HQ, from different departments - and ensuring that messages about ethics reach and engage them is a particular challenge. Messages about ethical behaviour will not be taken seriously if ‘the tone at the top’ (or just above) contradicts them. Ethical leadership is, by far, the most powerful tool in developing and sustaining a culture where ‘doing the right thing’ is part of doing business. Scenarios will help sensitise senior staff to the issues affecting their employees, sector and company. Developing ethical acumen, by practising how to deal with these issues, will help ensure they lead by example.

Developing and Using Business Ethics Scenarios

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Developing and Using Business Ethics Scenarios
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