Organizational Integrity Group Blog

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The U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) thinks the FBI and other agencies are not doing enough to address the espionage threat on U.S. university campuses. It issued a report, “Enforcement Agencies Should Better Leverage Information to Target Efforts Involving U.S. Universities” on June 14, 2022, urging the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Commerce to step up their outreach efforts to address the threat. Commerce, DHS, and FBI have all concurred with GAO’s recommendations. As a result, U.S. colleges and universities to face yet another organizational risk: an increase in campuses visits by export
Continue Reading U.S. Government Pursues More Aggressive Action to Curb Espionage at Universities

So, nearly 2 years ago your organization applied for and received COVID-relief funds. The decision was not an easy one. On the one hand, government largesse invariably comes with strings and uncertainties, i.e., risk. On the other hand, your organization faced an unprecedented triple threat crisis: financial, operational, and health. Consumer spending plummeted and its consequences rippled through the economy threatening to trigger a global financial meltdown. You could not possibly have forecast how the global pandemic would affect your organization.
Continue Reading A Short Guide To Responding To Employee Concerns About Your Organization’s Actions And Its Mission, Vision, And Values

The inattention some companies pay to their ethics and compliance program never ceases to surprise us. You’d think the frequency of DOJ press releases and prosecutions holding companies accountable for employee wrongdoing would be enough to scare any business into directing more resources at prevention. But alas, many businesses, often over the protestations of their under-resourced Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs), continue to think they can get by with a minimalist approach to ethics and compliance. Our experience suggests otherwise.
Continue Reading DOJ’s Renewed Focus On Corporate Ethics & Compliance Programs Highlights Importance Of Organizational Integrity

Government enforcement efforts are on the rise. In December 2021, the Secret Service announced an initiative to more aggressively counter pandemic-related fraud. Empowered by new personnel, new funding, and new legislation, the DOJ has bolstered its antitrust enforcement efforts. Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s new director of enforcement, shared his aggressive SOX enforcement plans in a recent PLI speech. Speaking at the ABA 36th White Collar Crime Institute, Deputy AG Lisa Monaco announced the DOJ would be re-energizing its enforcement of “white collar” wrongdoing. “Although we understand the costs that enforcement actions can place on shareholders and others,” she told the
Continue Reading Driving Cultural Change To Reduce Corporate Risk: Lessons Learned From The Field

If your company is like many, your board of directors may be demanding that you put more effort into environmental, social, and governance issues, which have become known by the now-ubiquitous acronym “ESG.” Those demands don’t come from nowhere: consumers are demanding transparency and social responsibility. In addition, if your company does business internationally, regulators are now focused on international social justice issues (such as the use of forced labor) more than ever.
Continue Reading Does Your Trade Policy Support Your Company’s Values?

This past month, the U.S. Senate debated a provision in the Innovation and Competition Act that would require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review any proposed gifts and contracts of $1 million or more to U.S. research institutions from a foreign source. That would mean that the U.S. government would have a new level of oversight of such gifts, be required to investigate the ultimate source of the funds, and be able to impose mitigation measures on or prohibit such gifts.
Continue Reading Open Research, Foreign Finance, and a University’s Mission

Contrary to some expectations, the Trump Administration Department of Justice imposed record penalties under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from 2017 through 2020. But in each of those years, fewer and fewer new FCPA investigations were initiated. We expect the Biden Administration to continue the trend of increasing FCPA enforcement settlement values, while also increasing the pace of initiating new FCPA investigations. Anticorruption matters present some of the most severe threats to a company’s organizational integrity. Understanding the changing enforcement culture is an important component to addressing those threats.
Continue Reading The Next Four Years of FCPA Enforcement: What to Expect From the Biden Administration

This article was originally published on IP Watchdog.

An employee comes to you with a recipe for your competitor’s “secret sauce.” You know she worked for your competitor before coming to work for you.  How do you respond? It’s an important question, because it may go to the core integrity of your organization and because exploring this trade secret conundrum may offer some decision-making principles that businesses can apply when addressing other difficult decisions that they are being called to make in these stressful COVID-19 times. 
Continue Reading To Disclose Or Not To Disclose: Responding to Trade Secrets Misappropriation by an Employee?

The University of Kentucky (“UK”) announced that it had fired all the coaches of its powerhouse cheerleading team on May 18, 2020 after a three-month internal investigations into allegations of hazing, public nudity, lewd chants, and alcohol use among team members over a number of years.  UK released an eight-page internal report by its Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity office that probed, among other things, whether “the coaches . . . knew of or should have known” about misconduct by team members and concluded that the “weight of the information provided is sufficient to establish that the coaching staff were
Continue Reading (Cheer)Leading By Example: UK’s Cheerleading Scandal and Lessons for Leaders

In 1657, mathematician Blaise Pascal commented in a letter to his church leaders “I have made this longer than usual because I did not have time to make it shorter.” More than 100 years later, another Frenchman, Napoleon Bonaparte, offered a similar remark to his valet as he prepared to head out for battle. “Dress me slowly,” he said, “I’m in a hurry.” The irony of the quotations makes people smile, but few quibble with their underlying truthfulness. Often, the more in a hurry you are, the more you need to slow down.
Continue Reading Using “Prospective Hindsight” To Identify And Mitigate Risks During A Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into a crisis of uncertainty.  How does one stop a global pandemic?  How long will it take to bend the contagion curve?  How should the business community respond, to both the public health and financial challenges?  How we as a nation, as individuals, and as businesses respond to these challenges, will reveal and test our values.
Continue Reading Leading with Values in Times of Crisis

This spring, two major sports teams were caught cheating. Both are consistent championship contenders in recent years.

In the United States, hardly any sports fan could have missed the report released by Major League Baseball concluding that the Houston Astros used cameras to steal signs from opposing pitchers, allowing Astros hitters to know what pitches were coming. The Astros exploited this scheme to win the World Series in 2017, reach the American League Championship in 2018, and reach the World Series again in 2019.[1]
Continue Reading Foul Balls and Red Cards: How Baseball and Soccer’s Different Approaches to Cheating Illustrate the Power of Organizational Response

I was sitting in my office last week thumbing through the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education – the diary of news in the academe – and it hit me that story after story touched on what my colleagues and I call “organizational integrity.” Universities should increasingly focus on their integrity – their values, their culture, their own sense of right and wrong – as the bedrock of their organizational decision-making, risk management, and compliance. And, when their reputations are threatened,  universities should try to ground their response in those same values.
Continue Reading Universities Should Focus on Organizational Integrity in Wake of Scandals

In December 2019, an entire class of West Virginia prison guard trainees was reportedly fired for giving the Nazi salute in their graduation photo.

The incident is not only a chilling display of a detestable symbol of genocide. It is also a crystal-clear example of the problem of the passive bystander. But modern training methods, based on current research on the science of bystandership, can help prevent such abuses before they occur. Such programs are being successfully adopted by law enforcement agencies and other organizations around the country.
Continue Reading How an Entire Class of Prison Guard Trainees Could Have Been Saved by a Simple Bystander Intervention Program

Synopsis
The academic scandal that rocked the University of North Carolina from 2011 to 2014 epitomizes the need for decisive action to respond to circumstances that threaten an organization’s integrity. Failing to respond – or delaying such a response – can threaten an organization’s reputation for candor and transparency. Organizations must not react reflexively in these situations; rather, organizations must react in a way that bolsters or restores its integrity. And, where appropriate, organizations must accept responsibility, adopt and implement meaningful reforms, and transparently report what happened.
Continue Reading Managing a Crisis of Integrity: The University of North Carolina Academic Fraud Scandal