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Corporate culture and tone at the top

Joe Murphy ( is a Senior Advisor at Compliance Strategists, SCCE’s Director of Public Policy, and Editor-in-Chief of Compliance & Ethics Professional magazine.

If you wondered whether to avoid this column because you expected a buzzword fest, that is understandable. There is quite a bit of talk about these two subjects, as if they were mystical concepts, but they can be fairly simple.

First, tone at the top is not talk at the top. It is action. You can have the CEO parrot the compliance officer’s words about ethics, but what matters is what the CEO does. The same goes for culture. The executives sequestered to write the company’s values may look cool, but all that matters is what they actually do. 

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