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Study into workplace culture: Common cultural failings and how to prevent them

New A&O Consulting analysis of workplace culture, conduct and governance breaches around the world highlights practical lessons and insights for boards and senior management teams.

In Common cultural failings and how to prevent them, we have chosen 11 high-profile breaches from around the globe for study, covering a range of organisations that encompass horse racing, a national football league, aviation, manufacturing, payments and banking.

We have compared and contrasted the cultural drivers surrounding these cases to see whether locker room incidents can really have the same underlying cultural and behavioural drivers that cause bankers to ignore anti money laundering red flags, and indeed whether the same actions can be taken to prevent such failings from occurring.

This new study is a follow-up to our 2019 report, Tackling culture in different sectors, where we analysed culture breaches in three different industries, following several high-profile incidents. Our analysis at that time revealed common cultural themes that were contributing factors to these wrongdoings. These included the tone from the top, the normalisation of poor behaviours, issues going unchecked for long periods of time and a lack of consequences for rule breaches.

There are clear lessons that emerge in our latest study, particularly around the need for appropriate training and education, better role modelling from leadership, honest and open communications and empowerment of middle management.

While some themes are familiar from three years ago, other new learnings have arisen this time around, including signs of more escalation and public scrutiny, the importance of the tone from the middle, and a greater focus on inclusion and equity, beyond diversity.

Download study: Common cultural failings and how to prevent them

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