Language and Conduct Risk: Limited Language – Big Blind Spots

Clare Payne

This chapter explores the language of practices that encourage ethical work cultures, including storytelling, good decision-making and reflection. It discusses in detail language that can erode ethical work cultures, such as economic and financial discourse, acronyms, abstractions and borrowed terms, as well as their common use and potential impact. Finally, two Australian initiatives designed to address language and ethics – the Banking and Finance Oath and the Ethical Professional Program of The Ethics Centre – are profiled as industry-led initiatives with customer and community needs as a central concern.


According to the Harvard Business Review,11 See English is the global language of business. English is declared the working language of the World Bank22 See and the business language of globally recognised brands. This may be somewhat expected of organisations with their origins and headquarters in English-speaking countries. However, the acceptance and indeed formal declaration of English as the preferred working language of institutions such as the European

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