The oldest U.S. non-profit devoted to workplace ethics, ERC and its predecessor institutions have since 1922 worked to build a stronger society through evolving educational and research initiatives. Today, ERC is active not only in traditional ethics research but also as a strong voice in the public discussion of what constitutes ethical behavior across the public and private sectors.
"We are proud of our decades of service, but longevity alone is not the true test of an organization," said ERC President Patricia Harned in marking the 85th anniversary. "Actual achievements - and how long they continue to affect society - establish the institution's real value.
"ERC has led the way in highlighting the importance of ethical behavior to an organization's overall success and showing how an organization's leadership can set high ethical standards for rank and file employees or members to follow."
ERC fosters ethical conduct through its research, measurement of ethics and compliance program effectiveness in individual organizations, and the development of white papers and educational resources based on its findings. ERC also sponsors character development programs for educational institutions, and manages a Fellows Program for corporate ethics officers and academics who engage in practical research that addresses emerging ethics issues.
At its founding in 1922, what is now ERC was known as American Viewpoint - a pioneer of educational programs in citizenship for immigrants entering the U.S. Focused on the need for individual responsibility in a democracy, American Viewpoint taught everything from U.S. history and the value of education to basic instructions on how to vote in an election. Over the next 50 years, that role expanded with publication of school history and civics textbooks, and sponsorship of lectures and seminars.
From 1973 on, American Viewpoint focused on strengthening the ethical underpinnings of American society. In 1977, the organization was renamed the Ethics Resource Center to serve as a "central catalytic resource designed to stimulate and assist ethical programs of established, in place, volunteer organizations, business, labor, professional groups, schools and government units."
Highlights of the modern ERC's work have included:
-- Early on, helping General Dynamics develop long-term programs to reduce
corporate vulnerabilities and ethical transgressions, including
establishment of the nation's first comprehensive ethics office.
-- In the 1980s, advising the U.S. President's Blue Ribbon Commission on
Defense Management, leading to the formation of the Defense Industry
-- The biennial National Business Ethics Survey, beginning in 1994. Based
on surveys of more than 10,000 American workers, ERC's benchmark report
and reference is widely respected by the business community as one of
the premier resources tracking national trends in organizational
ethics. In 2000, ERC began leveraging the collective data from the
NBES to help companies compare measurements of their own employees'
knowledge and attitudes on ethics, and the effectiveness of their
companies' ethics/compliance efforts, against national trends.
Ethics Resource Center: Advancing High Ethical Standards and Practices
The Ethics Resource Center is a private, non-profit organization devoted to independent research and the advancement of high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions. For 85 years, the ERC has been a resource for institutions committed to a strong ethics culture. ERC's expertise also informs the public dialogue on ethics and ethical behavior. ERC scholars analyze current and emerging issues and produce new ideas and benchmarks that matter - for our nation and for the public trust.
For more information about Ethics Resource Center, visit http://www.ethics.org.
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