New Book! ‘Establishing Workplace Integrity’ by Paul Fiorelli

If you’ve ever had the privilege of watching Paul Fiorelli speak, you’ll not soon forget the experience. His talks are filled with pop culture references, movie clips, inside jokes, levity, and thoughtful questions that make compliance education fun and memorable.

Paul is a Professor of Legal Studies and the Director of the Cintas Institute for Business Ethics. He’s also a thought leader in the profession and person most likely to be your friend after a conference.

I sat down with Paul to talk about his new book, Establishing Workplace Integrity, Six Lessons in Values-Based Leadership.

Paul Fiorelli on his new book 'Establishing Workplace Integrity. An interview with Kristy Grant-Hart.

Kristy: Congratulations on the book! OK – tell us about the book. What’s the premise and how can it help readers?

Paul: First of all Kristy – thanks for interviewing me.  The theme running throughout the book is “values-based leadership”.  What is it?  Why should we care? What brings us closer to becoming one and what makes it more difficult to be a “principled principal”.

Kristy: I love it. How is this book different from other Ethics and Compliance books available?

Paul: “Establishing Workplace Integrity” is both academic and practical.  I’ve done a lot of research into each topic – corporate culture, loyalty and engagement, why good people do bad things, going inside the mind of whistleblowers, the value of compliance programs, and white-collar crime.  While the book is research driven, it presents the material in a accessible way using pop cultural references to highlight the issues.  It’s filled with ethics case studies ranging from the Tylenol cyanide incident in 1982 to Bernie Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes more recently.

Kristy:  I love that one of the headings in the book is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Can you unpack that?

Paul: That’s a quote from Management Guru – Peter Drucker.  In that chapter I explore: what is corporate culture? why do we care? and how do we improve it?  To define corporate culture, I use the four elements discussed by a Management Professor from Penn State – Linda Treviño: (1) shared values, (2) tone of the organization, (3) procedural justice, and (4) willingness to bring bad news forward.  There’s both a business case and regulatory rationale to promote the value in developing a strong corporate culture, and I write about the importance of storytelling to improve an organization’s culture.

Kristy: As you noted a minute ago, a signature Paul Fiorelli move is including pop culture references. For instance, you include stories from the cult favorite movie Office Space in the section on disengagement and include A Few Good Men as a case study. How do you choose the stories to use?

Paul: I consider myself a movie buff, and as I’m watching a film on the big screen or at home, I’m always thinking – “I wonder if I could use that scene to highlight an important theme.”    Several years ago, I developed a course titled – “Online Business Ethics Through Film.”  It’s a popular elective in Xavier’s MBA program and I assign full length movies to underscore important ethical themes.  Students quickly learn it’s not just an easy “popcorn course”.  In addition to the movie, students read articles, takes quizzes, answer discussion board questions, then post a personal reflection for each movie.

Kristy: Oh my gosh, I’d be the first one signed up for that course! Can you give compliance officers a quick list of three of your top favorite movies or TV shows to quote during training or communications?

Paul:  When I incorporate movie clips for in-person training, I always obtain permission to legally show the scene.  I use Swank Motion Pictures for licensing my one-day training sessions.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for virtual courses using Zoom or Teams, so I do that training without the benefit of these clips.  Movies I use include: (1) Glengarry Glen Ross (pressure to perform), (2) Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (greed), and (3) The Informant (rationalization, whistleblowing, antitrust).  I also use a scene from the TV show – The Office – in the episode regarding ethics training when Michael Scott dances to the song “Lets Get Physical” but changes the lyrics to “Lets Get Ethical”.

Kristy: That’s so fun! And great tip about how to get licensing to use them!

You talk a lot about punishment in the book, including going through how Bernie Madoff’s prison sentence was calculated. What is the role of carrot versus stick? Should we in the compliance profession be erring more on one side or the other?

Paul: I was a Supreme Court Fellow from 1998-1999 working at the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  During that year I focused on the Chapter 8 Guidelines dealing with Organizations.  I was also selected to be a member of the 2002-2004 Ad Hoc Advisory Group regarding Chapter 8.  These guidelines are clear about “carrots and sticks”.  In the book, I compare two companies – Goodco and Badco – that had similar violations (giving $1,000,000 in bribes to a foreign official).  There’s a potential 320:1 differential in what a company will pay in federal fines depending on whether it had a good compliance program versus a bad one.

The current Department of Justice encourages cooperation with the Department and strong compliance programs by offering these significant “carrots” (fine reductions, declinations, deferred prosecution agreements and non-prosecution agreements).  Given this, I prefer carrots over sticks.

Kristy: Everyone is dying to know – where can the book be purchased?

Paul: The easiest place to buy it is online through Amazon.  Its also available at Barnes & Noble, the Apple bookstore and through the publisher – Business Expert Press.

Kristy: Thank you so much Paul! It’s going to be a gigantic hit!

Paul:  Thank you for your thought leadership, Kristy!  Our entire ethics and compliance community is the beneficiary of your insight and passion.

Share the blog!

Kristy Grant-Hart

Kristy Grant-Hart

Kristy Grant-Hart is the founder and CEO of Spark Compliance.
She's a renowned expert at transforming compliance departments into in-demand business assets.