Measuring the Divide between HR and Ethics featuring Patricia Harned, president, Ethics Resource Center and Deborah Keary, HR director, Society for Human Resource Management. This plenary session will review and analyze results of two recent surveys, each of which separately asked HR professionals and ethics and compliance professionals about their experiences and perceptions regarding working with the other.
Not being able to immediately find an email address for Ms. Keary, I sent the following email to each of the SHRM directors shown on the SHRM website:
Sent: 9/21/2008 ____P.M. Central Daylight
Subj: HR and Ethics & Compliance
I am writing this email to you in your capacity as a director of SHRM and because I have noticed that Deborah Keary is speaking this week at the Annual Conference of the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association on the subject of the experiences and perceptions of HR professionals and ethics and compliance professionals regarding working together.
The reason for my interest in this is that I have been badgering the ECOA and ethics professionals with the question, "Do you think the law undermines business ethics?" My question has been accompanied by this argumentation in which I set forth a "yes" answer based on common knowledge about human nature and common sense analysis of what is needed for society to be able to regulate behavior to be ethical.
In my argumentation, I supplicate ethics academics, officers and consultants as follows:[You ethics officers] have front line involvement and first hand experience that specially enable [you] to discern circumstances and factors that abet or that impede the inculcation and institutionalized practice of business ethics in [your] corporation. [You] are in the best position to evaluate my descriptions of how the law affects the pychology and thinking of employees when it comes to deciding to engage in an unethical activity or not. To the extent [you] ethics officers are uncertain about what I describe, [you] can conduct interviews and surveys of employees to find out about employee thinking and psychology. [You] consultants and academics working in the business ethics field also have a close in view of things.
For good or bad reasons (you can decide which; see Letter to ECOA Members), the ECOA has told me not to bother them anymore.
My feeling is that HR has as close in a view of the employees as the ethics officers, HR's thoughts about my argumentation would be of equal value as those of ethics officers, and my question about the law undermining the business ethics of employees is something HR, as well as ethics officers, can and should have a legitimate interest in.
If you would care to inform yourself about what I have been urging on the ECOA and to offer me your thoughts from an HR perspective, I would be very interested in hearing from you.