Fluor's Ethics and Compliance Efforts Buoyed By 'An Enforcement Culture,' Ethikos Reports

Jan 27, 2010, 10:17 ET from Ethikos

MAMARONECK, N.Y., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- At Fluor Corporation (Irving, Texas), the $23 billion engineering concern, business is often organized by projects — huge, billion-dollar affairs, like construction of a bridge, or an offshore oil platform, or a road, like the I-15 highway in Utah, where Fluor was recently contracted to expand a 23-mile corridor.

This is reflected in Fluor's compliance and ethics program, which is decentralized, fluid, and portable. "We rely on the individual," says Wendy Hallgren, Vice President, Corporate Compliance, not just to know right from wrong — but to ask a question if something seems amiss.

Hallgren has only four people in her office, a modest number for a company with 46,000 employees. She relies on other departments to implement many of her initiatives. With ethics and compliance training, for instance, her group develops the content, "but HR (human resources) pushes it out." Human resources helped, too, in development of her office's recent supervisor training protocol.

It helps that Fluor has an "enforcement culture," noted Hallgren in a recent interview with Ethikos, a bi-monthly publication that examines ethical issues in business. Without enforcement, a program has no teeth. In recent years, two project managers — each of whom was running a huge, $1 billion-plus project—were terminated for ethical lapses. (See story at http://EthikosPublication.com/html/fluor.html.)

"People know" when something like this happens, and it is hugely important  that employees see that malefactors — even leaders of giant projects like these — will be disciplined for ethical transgressions, adds Hallgren, who says that from a purely business perspective it is difficult "to lose someone who shows skills and leadership" in their area of expertise.

The prevailing 'ethic' at Fluor is "not about making money at any cost," she tells Ethikos. "The company does not expect you to do something wrong to make money."

Now in its 23rd year, Ethikos (www.EthikosPublication.com) takes a unique case-study approach to corporate ethics. Recent issues have included profiles of General Electric, Coca Cola, Cisco, McDonald's, AOL, British Telecom, GM, and Novartis, among others. Go to http://ethikospublication.com/html/selectedarticles.htm to see selected recent articles.

SOURCE Ethikos