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ABN AMRO - Curating the Context of Conduct

ABN AMRO - Curating the Context of Conduct

by Wies Wagenaar

Global Head, Centre of Expertise for Behaviour, Ethics & Compliance Learning, ABN AMRO

May 15, 2022


The mere fact that you have the right to do something does not mean that actually doing it would be the right thing. Acting ethically involves more than just sticking to the rules. There’s no universal agreement on what counts as “good”: ask any number of people, and that’s the number of different answers you’ll get. What is considered “good” here in the Netherlands isn’t necessarily “good” in Japan, say, or the Middle East. And to complicate matters further, the criteria involved in making such judgments are constantly changing with the times. 

Determining what’s right in a given situation requires dialog. We have to weigh up the rights, interests, and wishes of everyone involved, and carefully examine all sides of a given issue that is to be decided upon, based on a variety of viewpoints and frames of reference. And then comes the even trickier part: following through on whatever’s been decided. As often as not, that’s going to require gumption—the courage to stick necks out and go against the grain. And if there’s a lot at stake, chances are the fix won’t be easy. If it were, the issue probably wouldn’t have arisen in the first place.

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