Pope Francis yesterday closed the Vatican meeting of Catholic Bishops and Cardinals especially called to stop sexual abuse of minors by priests, an insidious failure of good character on the part of those chosen to be God’s ministers on earth.
On the one hand, the failures were ones of individual responsibility – by the priests who did wrong. But on the other hand, they were failures of the institution, in hiring, in supervising, in investigating and in punishing. Those institutional failures arose out of the long-established organizational culture of the priesthood.
The root cause of the malfeasance was in values, values not held by perpetrators and values held – which either provoked or aided and abetted the wrongdoing.
The Catholic Church is not alone in fostering malfeasance. I would argue that all corporate scandals, from the explosion of BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, through ENRON and Wall Street’s 2008 destruction of global credit markets, to today’s misuse of private data by Facebook or UBS’s helping wealthy French dodge their country’s tax laws, arise first from a failure of organizational culture. What is the remedy?
Our colleague, Matt Bostrom, former Sheriff of Ramsey County, has a good answer. He is working now on a Ph.D. at Oxford University gathering data to support his solution. Matt believes that every organization, in his case police departments, should hire for character and then train for competence.
In our modern, professionalized, elite culture of expertise, we do the reverse: we hire for credentials and hope for good character.
Matt has been organizing community focus groups to gather information on the criteria people want to see in their police officers. It turns out hiring for character is easy.
Please join us for a round table discussion at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 12th, at the University Club of St. Paul to learn about Matt’s research and how we can reduce organizational failures across the board by hiring for character.
Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.
Cost to attend is $15 for Business and Public Policy Round Table members and $35 for non-members. Payment will be accepted at the door.
Space is limited.
To register, please contact Jed at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 223-2863 (email preferred).
The University Club is located at 420 Summit Ave in St. Paul.
Parking will be available along Summit Ave.
The event will conclude at 11:00 am.