Global pharmaceutical company – ‘de-risking’ through a participative approach to ethics in drug development
A preliminary analysis of the client’s activities revealed that certain ethical risks, if left unmanaged, could seriously stifle staff motivation and innovation. Further analysis showed that managing ethical risk was not about policy statements but culture change. The client needed to find a way of embedding a new culture of ethical risk management within the workforce.
The client has innovation at the heart of its mission. It is also required by its stakeholders to produce above average industry profitability. Business critical issues for the company lie with how their employees operate. All of this is set within a highly legislated and regulated environment.
What did we do?
The process of initial 'dialogue' took place over a 12 month period. The initial challenge was to identify the issues found in those dilemmas in everyday work that were not covered in these regulations.
Exposing employees to issues of ‘risk’ without a process for resolving the risk not only impacted upon staff motivation, it could also act as a barrier to innovation and creativity. The organisation was potentially open to risk: if what started off as an ‘ethical’ concern or query went unmanaged, it may become a full-blown “issue”, ultimately affecting the client’s performance. The client recognised that regulations and guidelines could not provide all the answers to what they termed ‘ethical’ dilemmas that employees might face.
The solution to embeddedness and implementation lay with the employees themselves. A workshop and case study based approach was developed by a core team from within the company, independently facilitated by Article 13. The strength of this approach was the governance and buy in generated by such a participative approach alongside the flexibility of bringing in outside facilitators and society issue champions.
Participants were able to share good practice and their own concerns in an independent way to identify the relevant issues both for themselves in their everyday work, their functions as well as their views as members of society. Through facilitated discussion, they developed a shared meaning around “ethics” and what it meant to them in their jobs and the way they did, and do business.
How did we break the cycle?
Participative workshops were the tool of choice, to enable the development of policy that put subjects at the heart of the process.
Also in this section:
© Article 13 2005