DateTime Object ( [date] => 2022-01-22 09:11:50.928503 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )
  • Rogue One and the Myth of the Rogue Employee

    We conclude our 5-part series on the intersection of Star Wars and compliance by looking at the only stand-alone entry in the Star War series, Rogue One. This movie tells the tale of the spies who stole the schematics from the original Death Star and transmitted it to Princess Leia and thereby the Rebel Alliance. Rogue Oneis the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series, a series of stand-alone spin-off films in the Star Wars franchise. It is not clear where the name of the movie came from; although my personal nomination is that in the attack led by Luke on the original Death Star, his squadron was Rogue Two so the movie title is a tribute to those Rebel Alliance X-wing fighters and their pilots. 

    As long as 24 years ago, Lynn S. Paine wrote about the myth of the rogue employee in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), in an article entitled “Managing for Organizational Integrity. In this article she wrote, “executives are quick to describe any wrongdoing as an isolated incident, the work of a rogue employee. The thought that the company could bear any responsibility for an individual’s misdeeds never enters their minds. Ethics, after all, has nothing to do with management. In fact, ethics has everything to do with management.” How prescient she was in her article. For it is management who sets the tone throughout the organization, whether that is something along the lines of a wink and a nod towards ethics and compliance or the more ubiquitous miss your numbers for two quarters and you will be history, Paine noted, “More typically, unethical business practice involves the tacit, if not explicit, cooperation of others and reflects the values, attitudes, beliefs, language, and behavioral patterns that define an organization’s operating culture. Ethics, then, is as much an organizational as a personal issue.” However, a company’s responsibility is more than simply to set the right tone then sit back and do nothing. The drafters of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act recognized this when they included the requirement for internal controls to be included in the law. For, as Paine said, “Managers who fail to provide proper leadership and to institute systems that facilitate ethical conduct share responsibility with those who conceive, execute, and knowingly benefit from corporate misdeeds.”

    The three basic tenets of a best practices compliance program are to prevent, detect and remedy. By claiming employees who engage in bribery and corruption have ‘gone rogue’; companies are attempting to divest themselves of responsibility for actions from which they benefit, particularly if the bribery and corruption generated business sales and revenue.  We hope you have enjoyed our five-part podcast series on the intersection of Star Wars and compliance as much as we enjoyed producing it. Always remember the storytelling component of compliance. Reciting rules, regulations, policies and procedures is the way to engage effectively in compliance. 

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Popcorn and Compliance

Popcorn and Compliance

Do you love the movies? Are you passionate about compliance? If the answer to one or both of those questions is Yes; this is the... Read More