As Professor Stucke explains, the U.S. Sentencing Commission's Organizational Guidelines for over twenty years have offered firms a significant financial incentive to develop an ethical organizational culture. Nonetheless, corporate crime persists. Too many ethics programs remain ineffective. As his article argues, the Guidelines' current approach is not working. The evidence, which includes sentencing data over the past twenty years, reveals that few firms have effective ethics and compliance programs. Nor is there much hope that the Guidelines' incentives will induce companies, after the economic crisis, to become more ethical.
The problem is not compliance per se. The empirical research, while still developing, suggests that compliance efforts can be effective, and that effective compliance is attainable for many companies. The problem, Professor Stucke identifies, is attributable to an extrinsic, incentive-based approach to compliance, which does not cure, and likely contributes to, the problem of ineffective compliance.
In his article, What You Believe About Effective Compliance, And What Works, Matt Kelly summarizes Prof. Stucke’s piece,
Good news for chief compliance officers frustrated with the effectiveness of your compliance program, or the lack thereof: you are correct to feel that way.
That's the conclusion of an eye-opening academic paper, “In Search of Effective Ethics & Compliance Programs,” published last month by University of Tennessee law professor Maurice Stucke. If you ever wanted to confirm that nagging feeling you have that maybe our approach to building compliance programs and deeming them effective isn't quite right, read this 88-page paper immediately.
Professor Stucke is part of GeyerGorey’s compliance team, which blends its experience in enforcement, in-house counseling, criminal and civil defense, and qui tam litigation, to help companies efficiently identify, address, and mitigate litigation risks from the onset and develop an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to comply with the law.