MUSTS Colloquium with Wim Dubbink: The Compliance-Strategy as Road to Integrity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 15:30-17:00

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Grote Gracht 80-82, Attic (3rd floor)


Wim Dubbink


The Compliance-Strategy as Road to Integrity: A Dead-End Street



Modern society is a society of organizations. The organizational form has many advantages, but there are also disadvantages. The effects of organizational actions can harm the moral and legal rights of human beings: the environment suffers from pollution caused by organizational actions; human beings suffer from the fraud caused by organizational actions. It is therefore understandable that many members of society demand that organizations ought to be restrained. Controlling organizations however, is not a simple task. The law experiences great difficulty in curbing organizations. Hence the call for additional means.

Many people today believe that organizations ought to have ‘integrity’. To a large extent, integrity at the organizational level means that the organization must ensure that its representatives (i.e., employees and managers) are sincere moral beings, who restrain themselves. As a consequence, the actions of the organization will also not cause violations of morality.

What is the best way to make sure that  organizational representatives become moral persons? Organizations’ leaders often assume that the so-called ‘compliance-strategy’ is the only or at least the best way to accomplish this. That is why in many organizations—from companies to universities—the call for ‘integrity’ usually ends with a compliance policy. From a moral point of view, this is rather unfortunate as the compliance strategy is actually an inadequate way to enhance morality. It is not just ineffective; it contradicts the moral fiber of the organization.



Wim Dubbink is full professor of Ethics, in particular Ethics of Business and Organization at Tilburg University. He has a special interest in (organizational) integrity and its requirements, and focuses on Kantian ethics and metaphysics. Dubbink has published on corporate duty, human maliciousness and the problem of ethical cynicism. He current research involves the duty of beneficence (versus the duty of rescue), the problem of disunity of modern morality, and the meaning of love. Wim Dubbink has been associate editor of the Journal of Business Ethics. Currently he is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethics.