Rx for United Airlines: Less Rules, More Human Values

May 2, 2017 Susan Divers

In this LinkedIn blog, Susan Divers reflects on the forcible ejection of Dr. Dao from an overbooked United flight. Oscar Munoz, United’s CEO, said “we let our policies and procedures get in the way of doing the right thing.”

Bingo. He nailed the root cause in one sentence.

Policies and procedures exist to promote compliant and ethical behavior. But they easily turn into layers upon layers of rules rather than a set of integrated ways of working and provide little or no practical guidance to employees.  (Just google any policy topic such as “conflict of interest policies.”)

Most importantly, this approach actually undermines the values that the organization is trying to foster. Reading pages of dense jargon doesn’t inspire employees, or even educate them. Instead, it deadens their initiative and willingness to take responsibility.

LRN’s research has found that number of rules or policies in a company’s playbook – such as how to deal with overbooked flights – is not the best place to focus or evaluate an organization’s compliance. What really matters is whether or not those rules actually promote ethical behaviors that reflect the company’s core values. Click here to read more.

About the Author

Susan Divers

Experienced Ethics and Compliance Executive. Senior Advisor at LRN

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