I thought about the Astros culture of losing, my “unsophisticated” view of baseball and the Astros redesigned uniforms when reading a recent article by Andrew Hill in the Financial Times (FT), entitled “Lofty Aspirations”. Hill quoted Roger Steare, an expert on corporate leadership, values and ethics, who said that culture “describes the way human beings behave together – what they value and what they celebrate.” Hill posed the question of whether it is possible for government policy makers or regulators to shift the behaviors and values of scandal hit sectors of the business and if it is even desirable. Hill looked at the ongoing crisis in the financial services sector and found that it is so deep that regulators in the UK have “explored whether to intervene to influence corporate culture.” Hill cited a speech from 2010 by Hector Sants, then head of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) where he said that regulators can ask a Boards of Directors to provide agencies with “evidence of healthy culture, such as functional whistleblowing regimes, positive customer and employee engagement surveys, and a system for challenging “group think” at board level.” However, Sants also cautioned that “I don’t believe the regulator should be enforcing culture because it’s a contradiction in terms: if you enforce culture, you get a police state with compliance on the surface and subversion underneath.”
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