In this podcast, I am joined by Mikhail Reider-Gordon, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Affiliated Monitors. In this episode, we consider the cultural differences between international and US domestic monitorships.
Gordon noted that when structuring a monitorship of an entity or an individual, it can be an unknown. Some of the issues include how to approach and interact with all the stakeholders and how that is organized, as monitorships are heavily impacted by cultural considerations. Gordon stated, “I’ve lived in, worked in numerous countries and I can tell you that those legal processes, there are absolutely important cultural differences that have to be built in. For instance, I’ll take an example here in the US there really is not the same expectation that a corporation will take care of its employees beyond what is required under labor and employment law and safety laws. Yet in many other countries, employers may develop deep personal relationships with employees, really on a level that you and I might associate with familial relationships.” Obviously, this has impacts for monitorships with an international component.
Additionally, there may be separate monitorships from different sets of prosecutors. For instance, the Odebrecht corruption case mandated a US and Brazilian monitor. Gordon said that in such a situation, “as a monitor, we are appointed to help the organization remediate and approve. We need that buy-in, all the stakeholders.” Equally importantly, when a US based monitor is in other countries, considerations of cultural sensitivities, norms, values, are part and parcel of the design of the monitoring program. There can be “cultural values such as maintaining harmony within the organization, change how we approach interviews, dialogue with employees and managers, building consensus and so on. This can extend to seemingly basic monitoring elements such as asking and receiving questions. It can also be around how poor decisions can even be challenged within the company as in many cultures, they do not embrace challenging management even when employees know that what the managers are doing are violating the law.” All of these factors must be taken into consideration.