Deutsche Telekom has commissioned two universities to examine its corporate culture and boost its “ethical behaviour”.
The European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) and the Hertie School of Governance will carry out “a scientific study”, the findings of which will be analysed by a panel of “experts”.
ESMT Professor Jörg Rocholl said the study would attempt to find out how much significance Deutsche Telekom attaches to ethical and rule-abiding behaviour as well as the roles played by individuals.
The panel includes three execs from the Germany-based operator – its Chief Compliance Officer, Chairwoman of the Central Works Council, and Head of Transformational Change & Corporate Responsibility.
Other experts on the panel include former President of the Bundestag and German federal minister Rita Süßmuth, and the Chairman of the Global Values Alliance Foundation Klaus M. Leisinger.
Deutsche Telekom said the results of the study and its recommendations for action should be ready by mid-2017.
The announcement comes in a year when corruption has reared its head at a number of telcos.
VimpelCom paid a $795 million (€717.15 million) fine in February, after it admitted to violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and laws in the Netherlands at its opco in Uzbekistan.
This led to Telenor, which owns a 33 percent stake in VimpelCom, losing several senior executives.
In June, seven current and former Ericsson employees were summoned as part of a preliminary investigation in Greece that relates to possible corruption.
According to Hertie School of Governance Professor Helmut K. Anheier, possible drivers of unethical behaviour include ambiguous responsibilities or a misconstrued sense of loyalty.
Thomas Kremer, member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management for Data Privacy, Legal Affairs and Compliance, said: “Establishing what’s called a compliance management system is not enough to prevent, investigate and punish rule breaking.
“An appropriate corporate culture, where employees feel able to speak out against inappropriate behaviour, also has a vital role to play.”
Source: European Communications