Our Insights on Culture, Governance and Trust

The following whitepapers and “think pieces” about culture, governance and trust are available for free download. We just ask that if you like them you share and link back to them so others can benefit.

The Millennial Workforce

Technologically empowered and in extraordinary numbers, they’re ready to upturn everything.

The Millennial workforce threatens to bring about an enormous hierarchical paradigm-shift.

Through sheer force of numbers their demands will become the new normal. For the corporate pyramid this means a future in which middle management is gone, or at the very least irreversibly different.

They’re changing society in ways that make their Baby Boomer grandparents shake their heads in confusion, and pride.

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Corporate Governance Failures Fuel Rocketing Compliance Costs

Compliance is the regulatory squeeze put on companies’
growth to ensure they operate responsibly.

Compliance costs are rocketing as a direct result of the scandals that have shattered the public’s confidence that the banks will operate responsibly.

$100billion is a big number by anyone’s reckoning. And it’s a big reason for company directors and c-level executives to learn and learn fast about how to keep out of trouble. We’ve compiled our “Top 10” of global governance failures to help highlight some of the common threads and the wash-up from some of those who got their governance very wrong.

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C-Sight for Cyber Risk

How strong is your human firewall?

No matter how secure your network and infrastructure are from cyber threats, it’s your human firewall that’s your most vulnerable security asset.

With 95% of successful hacks tied to human error, you can’t have a successful cyber security strategy if your people aren’t 100% on board.

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The Surgeon’s Tale – A C-Sight® Case Study

Confronting allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination within Australia’s surgical profession aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program.

It kicked off many months’ media scrutiny of practices in the once venerable profession. The headlines cried foul of serious and entrenched harassment. Sexual favours were alleged to have been asked of trainees in return for admission to highly competitive surgical course placements.

The profession’s college, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), needed to listen, to learn and to act fast and comprehensively. The independent Expert Advisory Group advising the RACS convened four C-Sight private online forums in parallel to a traditional research program involving survey and interviews.

Find out how technology is revolutionizing stakeholder engagement and data insight.

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The Delusion of Employee Candour

Management by Walking Around (MBWA) has been a feel-good myth for management and boards for decades.

It’s a business school tenet – popularised by Tom Peters – but it’s not a concept that’s exclusive to Western business school dogma. It’s embedded in organisational culture in different ways all around the world.

And it’s one of several related business axioms that demand rethinking in a world where there’s no mercy for getting culture wrong.

In our “Delusion of Employee Candour” whitepaper, we explore whether Management by Walking Around is still serving CEOs and directors as well as they think in an operating environment where failure to detect a cultural “arrhythmia” can have arresting consequences for executives, boards and shareholders.

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Trust Online

We all know how important trust is.

It’s suggested by sociologists that “without trust, the everyday social life which we take for granted would simply not be possible”. So, we know trust is a public good. We also know it’s important enough to try and measure, even going so far as to maintain a barometer of trust around the world.

But do we know what trust actually is? If you look in the dictionary, it’s defined as a reliance on the integrity or surety of a person or thing. In other words, trust is a judgement of the trustworthiness of someone, or something, else. Herein lies the problem.

In an age where we are more connected to each other than ever before, where vast communities exist in digital spaces, and in which one in four people (in the Western World) spend more time socialising online than in person, it’s important we understand Trust Online, for the sake of understanding how our expanding virtual society operates.

Read more in our Trust Online insight article

Business Culture

The culture of a company can be defined as the beliefs and practises that determine employee behaviour, both internally and between a business and its customers and other stakeholders

Business Culture rests, as all cultures do, upon an evolving set of collective values and attitudes. It exerts a strong influence over employee behaviour, management decisions and a company’s ability to execute its corporate strategy.

As Harvard’s Prof Cass R. Sunstein put it, the implicit social contracts that govern our lives demonstrate that explicit legal code isn’t as powerful as culture in regulating patterns of human behaviour. We vote, behave courteously and keep promises because we feel a collective obligation to, not because it’s the law.

This is no different in business, where workplace culture affects every aspect of a company, from hiring decisions and business hours to office setup and dress code.

Read more in our Business Culture insight article

People Risk

Essentially, people are involved in every action taken in an organisation.

Understanding people – their behaviours and their decision making – can enable a better understanding of organisational risk as a whole.

People Risk is referenced by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision as one of the four domains of Operational Risk, being “the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events”. People Risk includes narrower risk categories such as Conduct Risk and Safety Risk.

Within organisations, people and their behaviours are often compartmentalised into specialised functional areas (e.g. Fraud, Compliance, Health and Safety), which then typically define the commonly applied People Risk domains.

Consequently, a more organisation-wide conception of People Risk is the exception rather than the norm and we think this lack of focus on the common human dimensions caused by this “siloing” is a weakness of the typical approach.

Read more in our People Risk insight article

Conduct Risk Management

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Australia’s corporate regulator) defines Conduct Risk as “the risk of inappropriate, unethical or unlawful behavior on the part of an organization’s management or employees”. That conduct can be caused by deliberate actions or may be inadvertent, because of inadequacies in an organization’s practices, frameworks or education programs.

The Financial Conduct Authority, the United Kingdom’s consumer-focused banking industry regulator, notes that Conduct Risk definitions generally consider client outcomes and other elements such as reputational damage and the risk of undermining the integrity of financial markets.

Conduct Risk is a subset of “People Risk”, which we cover in more detail in this article. Conduct Risk has a strong focus in the financial services sector, particularly post the GFC due to banking scandals around miss-selling of financial products such as the UK’s PPI scandal.

Read more in our Conduct Risk Management insight article

Strategy Execution

While strategy development is about knowing what to do, Strategy Execution is about getting people to act in alignment with the strategy. And while developing strategy is difficult, it’s ten times as difficult to get people to execute that strategy.

A recent survey of more than 500 global CEOs revealed that Strategy Execution excellence was their number one challenge, heading a list of some 80 issues. It’s also known that at least two-thirds of large organisations struggle to implement their strategies.

Clearly Strategy Execution is devilishly difficult, otherwise everyone would be doing it right.

Herein lies the difficulty in Strategy Execution – getting everyone to act in alignment.

Read more in our Strategy Execution insight article

Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement can be defined as the level of commitment a worker puts towards achieving the company’s goals. Investopedia claims that “an engaged employee is in it for far more than a paycheque”.

Perhaps the best example of Employee Engagement is the probably apocryphal tale of when former US President John F Kennedy paid a visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 1962. While on a tour of the site he came across a janitor hurrying by with broom in hand. Kennedy interrupted the man and asked him what he was doing. “Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon”.

Employee Engagement helps Business Culture coalesce into a purpose-driven initiative. In a highly engaged workforce, even the most mundane job can be seen through the lens of contributing to the larger success of an organization. When Employee Engagement is high, people come to work with the same drive they had on their first day.

Read more in our Employee Engagement insight article

Employee Voice

In a narrow sense, Employee Voice is the means by which employees communicate their views on employment and organisational issues to their employer. But, more broadly, it really describes the extent to which an organisation’s people can, and are willing to, speak up about the issues of importance to them.

For employers, effective Employee Voice mechanisms contribute towards innovation, productivity and organisational harmony. For employees, they can lead to increased job satisfaction, engagement and opportunities for development.

Employee Voice isn’t just feedback, though. It’s something more profound, about building a culture of candour and participation. As Bath University’s Prof John Purcell notes, the root of Employee Voice lies in the fundamental idea of influence being shared among individuals who are hierarchically unequal – that is, between people of different levels of seniority in an organisation.

Read more in our Employee Voice insight article

Want to know more? Contact us to see if a C-Sight proof of concept is right for you.

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