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Mandatory compliance programs and 'malicious compliance'

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

A very clever piece appeared in ethikos in 2017, titled “Malicious compliance.”[1] This shows brilliant insight: If you mandate something that does not resonate with people, they can get even by complying in ways you never envisioned.

Now apply this to our field. I have written before about the dangers of government mandating compliance programs. Instead of giving companies positive incentives, providing well-developed guidelines, and encouraging people to innovate (the US Sentencing Guidelines model), some in government have instead mandated compliance programs.

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