Harvard Business Review – We Shouldn’t Always Need a “Business Case” to Do the Right Thing

I’ve been a consultant for almost 20 years, advising companies on complex challenges in ethics, risk, and responsibility. Each year several clients raise the same issue: the need to get buy-in from a skeptical senior executive in order to demonstrate a concrete benefit that will follow a proposed investment in an ethical business initiative or function. The executive needs a business case. And so I get asked questions like “What evidence can I provide that doing the right thing will make or save a company money?” and “How can I persuade the organization that embracing integrity is a win-win?”

It’s a relief to have finally moved on from the era in which corporate responsibility meant feel-good philanthropic efforts divorced from an enterprise’s main activities. Happily fading from memory is the cliché that ethics and compliance teams effectively constitute a “business prevention department.”

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Alison Taylor

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