Since the New Yorker exposed the longstanding sexual predation by Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, headlines of other sexual harassment cases proliferated and public response has been emotionally charged, with demands for far-reaching reforms.

As leaders of their own organization and advisors to their clients, The River Group, a CEO advisory company, decided to publish a white paper around  their perspective on this social and organizational imperative. By sharing their thoughts, they hope to invite other companies and leaders to a meaningful and constructive conversation about this topic.

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Any organization’s culture – built on accepted behaviors and practices – is mostly created by its leaders. Therefore, if sexual misconduct exists in the organization, it has been tolerated by – perhaps even started by – leadership. The authors wrote from their experience of working with leaders and shared their insights on the power of their role. This paper contends that allowing sexual misconduct in the workplace is a failure of leadership. Why? Because leaders hold a moral obligation to do the right thing. In this paper, they explore the definition of sexual misconduct, address the moral imperative of leadership, and provide suggestions on how to respond to an onset of sexual misconduct cases at work.

Leaders need a moral compass because they have a moral obligation to do the right thing – to do good. It’s part of the essence of leadership. Download the full report below: