Policy Audits Help Reduce Nepotism


How do you teach someone to increase their responsibility level?

Some can accept responsibility for themselves and their families.  Some can accept responsibility that encompasses entire nations.  But these individuals are few.  Far fewer than the number of people that seek such positions.

It would be convenient if people accepted responsibility in an orderly sequence of expanding zones of influence.  Of course, they do not.  Some are capable of accepting responsibility for large groups, but are unable to look after themselves and their families.

We often try to approach this problem through a “negative consequences” approach to education.  Of course, we are primarily educating about punishment.   “If you do this you will go to jail.”  Or “If you do this, bad things will happen . . .”  I contend that part of the push for “transparency and accountability” in many matters is to make it easier to “catch” people doing wrong and punish them.  There is a place for this, certainly.  But punishment does not develop wisdom and it does not increase the responsibility level of leaders.

Education is undeniably the key, but not a solution on its own.  For example, we have been “teaching” the perils of drugs and alcohol for decades and some/many people are unable to accept responsibility for their own body.  Can we expect them to exercise responsibility much beyond this small sphere of influence?

Teaching responsibility seems to be a challenge that is beyond the ordinary tools of public policy makers.  But we do have a logical approach to our policies that can help improve policy implementation.

How to Implement A Policy

First, we have to have the right policy approach.  As Mr. Whitton has pointed out, we have the right approach.  Just say “no.”

Second, people need to know that this is the policy.  In all of the examples above, the individuals knew the policy.

Third, people must know it is the correct policy.  Here we run into difficulty.  In many cases there is not sufficient training that helps convince managers and others that No Nepotism is the correct policy.

Fourth, the correct policy must be taught.  This is an ongoing challenge for organizations in making sure all of their critical policy is taught consistently enough that its managers know, understand, and believe they are implementing policy that is important to the survival of the organization.

Fifth, the policies must be applied.  In the  GTD White Paper – Effective Policy in the Fight Against Corruption I discuss the need for policy audits.  Typically, an organization will view an audit as solely a financial matter.  This overlooks  the important fact that trouble with finances occurs AFTER policy implementation begins to fail in other arenas.  A policy audit is not the realm of an Accountant.

On-going policy training and on-going policy audits will significantly help align institutional practice with institutional ideals.  This is key to assuring that policies are known, understood and followed.   A policy audit will reveal the various policies that are not being implemented or are implemented incorrectly and help strengthen morale and organizational purpose.

Hiring and Nepotism related policies are important entries for corruption of an organization.  Following this approach places importance on institutional integrity, and the implementation of its policies will create trust among its employees, and the sense of security that comes with knowing there is justice.  Very few things can create employee loyalty comparable to simple justice and fair dealing.

Brian Pinkowski

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