In Search of Effective Ethics & Compliance Programs

Maurice E. Stucke

University of Tennessee College of Law

December 10, 2013

University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 229

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 this Article explores, the Guidelines' current approach is not working. The evidence, including 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' incentive will induce companies, after the economic crisis, to become more ethical.

The problem is not attributable to three assumptions underlying the Guidelines. The empirical research, while still developing, suggests that compliance efforts can be effective, and that effective compliance is attainable.

Instead the problem is likely attributable in part to the fourth assumption. This Article explores how the Guidelines’ extrinsic, incentive-based approach to compliance does not cure, and likely contributes to, the problem.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 88

Keywords: Organizational Guidelines, compliance, ethics, antitrust, FCPA, organizational culture, intrinsic motivation, behavioral economics

JEL Classification: K21, K14, K42, L40

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Date posted: December 12, 2013 ; Last revised: February 17, 2014

Suggested Citation

Stucke, Maurice E., In Search of Effective Ethics & Compliance Programs (December 10, 2013). University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 229. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2366209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2366209

Contact Information

Maurice E. Stucke (Contact Author)
University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )
1505 W. Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-9816 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.utk.edu/people/maurice-e-stucke/

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