Establishing a competitive culture and incentivizing employee performance is a critical component of any financially thriving company. But what happens when the competitive pendulum swings too far? Recent incidents at companies ranging from Uber to Volkswagen to Wells Fargo demonstrate the potentially negative consequences when flaws in corporate culture are left unidentified or ignored.

In the first episode of our three-part series, “Board Oversight: Fostering an Ethically Competitive Company”, Patricia Harned, CEO of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative, joins host TK Kerstetter to discuss trends uncovered by their long-running survey, The State of Ethics & Compliance in the Workplace. Harned shares the good news, the bad news, and the worst news about trends in culture and ethics at today’s companies.

The good news is that we’re seeing the lowest levels of wrongdoing that employees are seeing in the workplace in the history of this study…However, there is some bad news in that more employees are saying they feel the pressure to compromise standards just to get the job done. They’re also twice as likely, if they come forward in reporting wrongdoing, to say that they experienced retaliation for having done so.

Patricia Harned, CEO of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative

The concern, Harned explains, is that when the expectation of retaliation rises, there’s often a silencing effect that follows. So what can boards do to monitor and ultimately reverse this trend? Harned outlines several steps today’s boards can take to keep a finger on the pulse of company culture.