In a recent article by Roy Snell titled: I’ll take 10,000 Shares of Compliance and Ethics Officers Please.” He reports that “Compliance professionals are being hired in droves now to prevent, find and fix ethical and regulatory problems.”
We know that training in compliance is a rigorous, detailed process. However is ethics approached in the same way? If Compliance professional now have to prevent, find and fix ethical problems, doesn’t one need to have the same type of rigorous, detailed training in ethics as in compliance? After all, no one accepts the premise that compliance and ethics are the same, does one?
It seems that the term Compliance Professional by itself has as its focus, training in law and adherence to law and rightly so. What is the focus for ethics, for education in ethics and its foundational relationship to compliance and law?
Why is this an important distinction to explore? The reason simply this. The process of thinking ethically is distinctly different, yet integral to, the process of thinking legally. Therefore if it is different, then the training/education needs to be different. Logical, right? When one looks at the intensive training that one goes through to become a compliance professional and receive accreditation, and if compliance and ethics are of equal importance, how much actual education is required in the process of thinking ethically?
If what Roy Snell is right about compliance professionals to have to prevent, find and fix ethical problems, and I believe he is, then how are they trained/educated to do so?
The bottom line is this. Is one’s training in compliance as important as one’s education in thinking ethically? Both are needed and invaluable, but where is the emphasis?