In his Globe and Mail article, Mark McKinnon describes how Bombardier’s serious legal bribery allegations are rooted in its corporate culture.
My research has shown that when this type of thing is exposed, culture is always "at the heart" of the situation. Bombardier is one of Canada's flagship companies, and as such, must have the checks and balances in place to avoid such upending disasters. Senior executives usually blame this on rogue employees; however, the culture is to blame for allowing such wrongdoings.
Another critical component is the importance of bystanders, who have the ability to first expose illegalities internally. Unfortunately, due to the fear of retaliation, few feel safe taking action, as evidenced by a growing string of organizations including Wells Fargo, Uber, Volkswagen, and Fox Media.
The real tragedy in situations like these is the impact they will have on all stakeholders, including employees. Bombardier will very likely lose contracts, and be excluded from bidding on some because of this. Like Wells Fargo and Uber, I am not sure they can survive it.
In my book, From Bully to Bull’s Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, I challenge the reader by asking, “Is your workplace culture a ticking time bomb”? The bomb exploded at Bombardier and I predict that there are more to come. Organizations would do well to heed Oscar Wilde's admonition - "It is not the prisoners who need reformation, it is the prisons."
Photo credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery