Principia Advisory

Independent Ethical Culture Assessment: The foundation of our work is the independent assessment of ethical culture

Our Independent Ethical Culture Assessment draws on behavioural science, organizational psychology, and moral philosophy to provide in-depth insight into ethical culture and capabilities. We go beyond the limitations of engagement surveys or conduct monitoring to explain not just what your people think and how they behave, but why.

This robust, evidence-based, quantitative understanding can provide the basis for targeted action to strengthen culture, address critical gaps, and lay the foundations of long-term, sustainable success.

Leaders increasingly acknowledge the importance of culture as the foundation of ethical and responsible business. But few have the insight or the metrics to embed effective management and monitoring into day-to-day business.


Before taking action, we need understanding.

Before taking action, we need understanding. What are the critical vulnerabilities in our culture? Where are the core strengths that we can use as the foundation for change? What were the root causes of an ethical failure?

The Independent Ethical Culture Assessment is the foundation of our culture transformation work, and draws together everything we know about the drivers of ethical and responsible decision making.

We believe that to truly understand an organization’s ethical culture, quantitative analysis must be supplemented by qualitative insight. Through combining advanced data analytics with in-depth engagement with people across the organization, our experienced teams can pinpoint cultural strengths and vulnerabilities, and help leaders to understand the root causes that drive culture and decision making.

Our approach is based on our proprietary Ethical Drivers Model, which provides a holistic framework to understand the complex drivers of organizational culture. Our model integrates more than 300 peer-reviewed research papers on decision making; draws on 150 case assessments of ethical failure in global organizations; and captures insights from Principia’s world-leading experts in organizational culture and ethics.

Our proprietary analytical tools provide the foundation for assessment. Our benchmarked Ethical Culture Index provides a quantitative diagnostic of ethical health across geographies, business units, and demographic categories. Building on these results, we conduct targeted deep dives into specific issues and capabilities, developing targeted remedies to cultural challenges. These deep dives enable our domain experts to develop prioritized recommendations, including examples of best and emerging practice informed by cutting-edge academic insights, as well as a roadmap to implementation.


Our Independent Ethical Culture Assessment:

  • Enables a rigorous, sophisticated understanding of organizational culture as that can serve as the foundation for intervention and action;
  • Provides new insight into the ability of your people to consistently do the right thing;
  • Identifies existing structures and systems that support or inhibit effect ethical culture;
  • Establishes a robust, independent evidence base that carries a high degree of credibility with boards, regulators, and other stakeholders.


We work with a wide range of organizations at different stages of cultural change. Our experience shows that an in-depth independent culture assessment can be particularly valuable for those organizations facing increased regulatory scrutiny; recovering from a major ethical crisis or conduct issues; or anticipating post-merger integration.

For the Board and CEO of a ‘Big Four’ professional services firm that had experienced a major ethical failure, we conducted an Independent Ethical Culture Assessment. Reporting directly to the Board and CEO, Principia conducted a six-month assessment of ethical culture, drawing on contributions from more than 500 people in face-to-face interviews and focus groups, as well as quantitative survey data from 15,000 employees across the firm. This robust evidence base provided the foundation for a three-year transformation program based on a shared vision for common culture, based on clearly-articulated purpose and values, with highly-targeted and prioritised interventions leading to quicker, more effective action.

For the CEO and CHRO of a top-tier US-based bank, we conducted an in-depth ethical culture assessment to lay the foundations for long-term strategy underpinned by a renewed commitment to growth through ethics and trust. Reporting directly to the CEO and CHRO, Principia conducted a six-month Independent Ethical Culture Assessment. Through a quantitative survey, supported by in-depth interviews and focus groups, we generated a robust, evidence-based view of cultural strengths and vulnerabilities, and developed a detailed roadmap to transform culture in order to support the bank’s strategic growth ambitions.