Who is the ethic watchdog in your firm?

Don’t count on the boss to be the ethics watchdog in your organization.

That surprising finding comes from research conducted by Jessica Kennedy, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt’s Business School. Her views were written up on Strategy+Business, an American website dedicated to fresh thinking in business.

Her research shows that bosses are swayed by the views of the team than to chart the course, even if the team is recommending something a bit shady. This interesting finding leads to one other recommendation – include some lower level people on the decision-making team as they will be more likely to provide an effective watchdog service and blow the whistle on ethics and morals.

She also discovered that men are less likely than women to express outrage at breaches of moral or ethical guidelines.

Despite the widely held view that power corrupts, she says it is a bit more complex and leaders tend to be very goal oriented so if ensuring ethical guidelines are upheld is one of those goals, the firm will generally do better at respecting boundaries.

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