As mentioned in the introduction of this paper, ethical education itself does not necessarily mitigate misconduct. Despite a well-established ethics program and an extensive code of conduct, Enron, a big American energy company, was not shielded from ethical misconduct and declared bankruptcy in 2001 (Johnson, 2003).
This illustrates that it rather requires a coordinated set of actions to ensure ethical education is supported by internal corporate structures avoiding system failures (Bowie, 2001). Nevertheless, as a result of the analysis in the chapters above, the final recommendation is to implement a program to develop skills and competencies in ethics for managers. This is due to the fact that it makes for an increasingly important leadership capability (Paine, 1996). Yet, the success of this program depends heavily on its implementation, as only the combination of this program holistically with fitting leadership, ingrained in the corporate culture, adapted corporate structure and strong stance on company values will be successful. The implementation needs to be supported by a wide-spread communication throughout the company of the program’s purpose, possibilities, company standards as well as punitive measures. Considering the long-term benefits, the continuous improvement of a manager’s capacity to successfully master and navigate ethical situations is key.
Thus, in terms of managerial effectiveness, the ability to make decisions on ethical dilemmas under uncertainty and pressure from stakeholders, management and the personal ambition needs to be addressed in a ethics program (Paine, 1996). It should combine the philosophical nature of ethics as well as practical solutions, thus merging compliance focus with value focus (Bowie, 2001).A holistic ethics and compliance initiative may be designed as follows:written code of conducttraining for managers on the standards within the code of conductseparate entity to consult on ethical topicsintegrate ethical conduct into managers performance evaluationsplatform to report on misconduct and violations while preventing retaliationinvest in monitoring, design a set of punitive measures to hold violators accountable(adapted from Ethics & Compliance Initiative, 2016; Romious, 2016; Johnson, 2003, Deloitte, 2017)