Big Data and Business Ethics


How did Walmart know to dispatch extra strawberry Pop Tarts to their stores in the path of Hurricane Sandy? How did public health officials gain an understanding of Ebola’s extent throughout the region? The short answer to these questions is: Big Data analytics.

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KING IV: Focus on Ethical Leadership, not Ethics Management

The release of the King IV report earlier in November this year has once again raised South Africa’s status as a world-leader in corporate governance. As innovative as the earlier King Reports have been, what has been this Report’s most striking feature, according to Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of The Ethics Institute, is that ethics has been elevated to an unprecedented level of prominence compared to the King III Report or any of its predecessors.

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Ordinary South Africans have not lost their moral compass, survey shows

The second South African Citizen’s Bribery Survey, conducted by The Ethics Institute and sponsored by Massmart, asked among other things whether respondents had ever said no to paying a bribe.  The results show that half of the respondents have never been asked for a bribe, while 60% of those who have been asked have declined to pay at some point – mostly for moral or religious reasons.

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Morality might curb Mortality

Could there be a link between the mortality on our roads and the morality of road users and traffic officials?

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The Ethical Role of Lawyers

Ethics goes beyond the law - it requires an internalisation of values.

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The state of Organisational Ethics in South Africa

In a recent survey, 242 Chief Audit Executives were polled for their views on various aspects of corporate governance. The outcome of the survey was published in the fourth edition of the Corporate Governance Index 2016 – An Internal Audit Perspective. 

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Social and ethics committees gaining traction

Social and Ethics Committees (SECs) are provided for in Section 72 (4-10) of the Companies Act, 2008 (Act No. 71 of 2008). But the uptake of these committees in companies is proving to be a challenge when, in fact, it should be seen as an opportunity for companies to build relationships with the communities and consumers they deal with daily. As some companies have discovered, having an SEC becomes more than a “check-box” exercise

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Incentives for whistle-blowers: Weigh up the options carefully

Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission recently announced that it would begin paying incentives to whistle-blowers. The scheme allows for payments of up to $1.5 million, or more if high amounts are collected. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the flag-bearer for this approach, paying famously high rewards to those uncovering corporate wrongdoing.

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Managing ethics risk successfully

Unethical business practices pose a significant risk to businesses and until now we have lacked a solid framework for managing that risk.

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Economy casts damper on ethical performance

While awareness of corporate ethics codes has increased, there has been a drop in the number of persons reporting ethical misconduct. This is probably because South African companies are investing fewer resources in improving their ethics performance and, as a result, ethical business practices are still not well-embedded into the organisational culture of corporate South Africa.

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Only ethical courage will end Nkandla saga

In welcoming the historic ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Nkandla matter, the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA) says that the damage caused to the country will only be repaired if leaders admit they erred, and recommit themselves to the foundational values of the Constitution.

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Back up your story with facts; not stereotypes

The current social media storm on racism demonstrates yet again how dangerous stereotypes are, and how easily they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. To prevent these inaccurate but powerful stories from setting the national agenda, South Africans must consciously tell a different story - backed up by the facts.

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