Perspectives of Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers on the Detection and Prevention of Corporate Misdeeds

What the Policy Community Should Know

by Michael D. Greenberg

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Improvements in corporate compliance, ethics, and oversight have been a significant policy goal for the U.S. government at least since the enactment of the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines in 1991 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. Notwithstanding these earlier government initiatives, the collapse of financial markets in late 2008 has invited renewed questions about the governance, compliance, and ethics practices of firms throughout the U.S. economy. On March 5, 2009, RAND convened a conference in Washington, D.C., on the role and perspectives of corporate chief ethics and compliance officers (CECOs) in supporting organizations in the detection and prevention of corporate misdeeds. The conference brought together leaders from among ethics and compliance officers in the corporate community, as well as stakeholders in the nonprofit sector, academia, and government. Discussions focused on the challenges facing corporate ethics and compliance programs as a first line of defense against malfeasance and misbehavior; on the role of CECOs as champions for implementation in their companies; and on potential steps that might be taken by government to empower CECOs and, by extension, the corporate ethics and compliance programs that they oversee.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Invited Remarks from Conference Participants

  • Chapter Three

    Corporate Governance, Compliance, and the Impact of Regulation — The CECO Perspective and Role

  • Chapter Four

    Corporate Culture and Ethics — Considerations for Boards and Policymakers

  • Appendix A

    Conference Participants

  • Appendix B

    Conference Agenda

  • Appendix C

    Invited Papers from Panel Participants

This report results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated independent research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by the generosity of RAND's donors and by the fees earned on client-funded research. This research was conducted within the RAND Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance, which is part of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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