Conduct Regulation in the Insurance Industry: in search of lost corporate ethics
The end of accountability: “Then call someone who can help me!” For all the current talk of “business ethics,” “the governance of ethics” and “corporate social responsibility,” our everyday experience of corporations is still of large impersonal structures where accountability vanishes. Many corporations seem deliberately arranged in a way to avoid accountability.
To illustrate, consider the frustration of trying to recover an incorrect debit payment to your internet service provider. This often requires an agonising and protracted telephone conversation with a call centre operator, armed with a script and your account details on. When the operator fails to help, or when your unresolved issue must be explained again to a new and uninitiated call centre operator, the most patient and empathetic among us grit our teeth and remind ourselves that it's not the call centre operator's fault, and their work-life must already be a nightmare. But if it is not the operator's fault, then who is responsible, accountable or just able in a corporation?
The inclination is to think that the call centre is a sort of gatekeeper protecting those who are really at fault, ultimately accountable or who have real power to act and are likely to find only more functionaries with tightly defined mandates and very limited authority. I'm afraid it is turtles all the way down (or up), and you can never quite see the face of Magritte's bureaucrat behind the green apple.
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