A more pro-active approach would be to establish both positive and negative behaviors that will be acceptable and unacceptable. In addition the rewards or punishment appropriate for each should be derived as a policy so the decision doesn’t become a case-by-case issue. I know the Green Bay Packers take extra caution to research the characters of proposed players before they are added to a roster. The reason is because they don’t want the close-knit relationship to their hometown fans compromised. It is hard to injure the value of this very popular entertainment monopoly, but if incidents continue the devaluation could be huge. These instances are not new but now accentuated by our social media and news media thirst for emotional and controversial stories. Until the incentives and penalties are clear, negative publicity will continue to injure the organizations value.
This same issue could be also applied to organization that have disastrous events occur in their public domain. Biggest recent example is the huge oil spill of BP. They are now trying to repair the damage by telling the people about all the jobs they create as a result of their business. This doesn’t even approach the number of jobs that were destroyed when their imprudent judgment on well testing led to the biggest offshore disaster yet. They also experience other life threatening events at plants in Texas like refinery fires, explosions etc. This disregard for the environment will cost organizations. Organization leadership could avoid problems by building a behavioral ethics program. The pro-active program can avoid negative impact and at the same time improve performance by reinforcing the right behavior and penalizing the negative behaviors.
The time has come for all good leaders to come to the rescue and make pro-active ethics policy and programs a higher priority in organizations! I think it exists in organizations, which we don’t hear about on the news!!!