einstein (São Paulo). 01/Mar/2012;10(1):1-10.

Compliance and leadership: the susceptibility of leaders to the risk of corruption in organizations

Renato Almeida dos Santos, Arnoldo José de Hoyos Guevara, Maria Cristina Sanches Amorim, Ben-Hur Ferraz-Neto

DOI: 10.1590/S1679-45082012000100003

In the field of organizational management, the term “compliance” designates the set of actions to mitigate risk and prevent corruption. Programs are composed by formal control systems, codes of ethics, educational actions, ombudsmen, and reporting channels – to mention the most recurrent, which vary according to the sector, the institutional culture, and the strategy. Leadership has a fundamental role in the process of compliance, not only due to its power to implement it, but precisely because it exercises this power, in itself, the object of reflections on ethics. The goal of this research was to evaluate the susceptibility of leaders to the risk of breaching organizational rules that involve ethical aspects. For quantitative investigation, we used social and descriptive statistical analysis of secondary data provided by ICTS Global, a company specialized in risk reduction. The study analyzed deals with non-probabilistic sampling by convenience, carried out between the years 2004 and 2008 with employees and candidates of 74 private companies located in Brazil. The final number of individuals studied is 7,267. The indicators analyzed are contained in the index of moral perception of comprehension of individual vision of the concerning hypotheses of ethical conflicts. According to the information obtained in the investigation, leaders are more willing to fail to comply. Paradoxically, the data also show that leaders are more loyal to organizations, raising the hypothesis that the bent toward moral integrity and loyalty to the organization are not necessarily simultaneous behaviors (it is possible that, motivated by loyalty, a leader might break away from individual principles). Based on the data and on bibliographic references, our final considerations point to the importance of considering systems from which leadership is recruited, compensated, promoted, developed, etc., in the prevention of corruption. Our data do not show that leaders are more corrupt, but that they have a greater disposition towards relaxing principles in professional circumstances.

Compliance and leadership: the susceptibility of leaders to the risk of corruption in organizations