In this special five-part podcast series, I am joined by Mikhail Reider-Gordon, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Affiliated Monitors, Inc. (AMI) the sponsor of this podcast series. In this series we discuss various aspects of monitorships, including why independence matters, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Guidelines on Monitors, Gordon’s professorial career at the International Anti-Corruption Academy, cultural differences between international and US domestic monitorships and the continuing evolution in monitorships. Today, in episode 3, we consider how Gordon’s teaching compliance and investigations at the International Anti-Corruption Academy inform her view of wide-ranging cultural differences in monitorships.

Gordon is a frequent Guest Lecturer at the IACA, having been on the faculty for about five years, teaching investigations and compliance. She also supervises graduate students in writing their thesis. The IACA is an international organization formed by 70 member States, about eight and a half years ago. It is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and education in the field of anti-corruption. It runs graduate level programs and degree programs dedicated to training professionals in combating corruption in all its married forms.

It is headquartered in Laxenburg, Austria, and hosts students from over 70 countries, including US, Europe and a heavy presence of African students. Many of the student are prosecutors and investigators from developing countries who are looking to expand their capabilities and technical skills in combating corruption back in their home countries.

Gordon said that from her work at the IACA she has garnered a wider appreciation of the cultural differences that every compliance practitioner and monitor need to be attuned to in monitorship work. She said, “that is one of the more enjoyable elements of it. We touch on a lot of cultural differences and we will raise scenarios or questions in the class. We’ll have folks from the Middle East, from Africa, from China, from Indonesia, India, Western European countries, from Brazil, from the US, from Canada, basically from across the globe. This leads to a wide range of opinions.”

She went on relate that cultural impact considerations are “always a lively debate. We talk about the differences it can make in planning an individual investigation, particularly when it’s got cross border aspects, cross cultural aspects, the design of a compliance program and how that can be heavily impacted by culture.” This discussion can “extend to tribalism or socioeconomic groups and how that may impact people’s willingness to whistle blow within an entity.” We can consider what “controls are acceptable and ethical in one country but may not be deemed in so in another country or seen in the same light in another; such as the idea of gift-giving as standard. So, we discuss those at length.”

We turned to the ever-evolving technological aspects of compliance data analysis and how new technologies have an impact on building and operating an entity wide compliance program. Gordon noted, “this is one of my favorite parts of the program that I teach. It is because not everybody really is focused on technology necessarily. We start with some exercises where we look at the different data privacy laws and cross border data transfer laws. And it never fails. People are just blown away to discover even in their own country’s laws or lack of them.” Our discussion on investigations can go into how an investigator might handle employee privacy and an employee’s personal identifying information.

Another area open for consideration is “how that impacts the creation when you’re structuring a compliance program that has to take in multiple jurisdictions, competing laws or laws that really conflict with one another, all predicated on the jurisdiction.” For Gordon, one of the “best parts of teaching that is of course, is that it evolves literally constantly. This means every year I have to redesign part of that curriculum to adjust for all the legal developments that have gone on around the world and in the types of technology which every compliance practitioner must use.”

Gordon concluded that all of these discussions generate a lively debate. She has students of varying levels of sophistication considering how you work through these issues if you do not have an evolved compliance program or you do not have sophisticated technology to aid in this. All of this certainly confirms what I have learned in many years as a blogger and podcaster; that compliance professionals can and do bring a lot of their own knowledge with them. By teaching at the IACA, Gordon is able to learn back from her students because they have a wealth of their own knowledge and “if you get them in a room together and there’s really a lot of value out of it.”

I hope you will join us for Part 4, where we discuss the cultural differences between international monitorships and US domestic monitorships.

For more information on AMI, check out their website. For more information on Mikhail Reider-Gordon, check out her LinkedIn profile. For more information on the IACA, click here.