Beyond Audits

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Auditing is not enough. It is necessary, but not sufficient. Some years ago, we thought it was exactly what we needed. But the accumulation of years of little impact has shown there is something missing.

Globalization tends to uniform the world and tells us it is the same to do business anywhere. Audits follow that mandate of neutrality and assumes there is an objective reality that everyone should understand. But each country has people that live and work in a context, in a specific context. That context permeates the workplace and relativizes everything an audit would consider a neutral truth. The context puts in relative terms everything: what we understand for sexual harassment, how much we value speed over safety, and how much we tolerate the heat, the noise, and the long hours.  

If we want audits to be useful, we need to open up to the context and work from there. That includes identifying the ways in which people learn and understand. It includes clearly showing the importance of things that are not yet part of what the context considers important. Ultimately, what an audit shows and reveals needs to be of value to those receiving the information.

Globalization might say everything is the same. But we are people, and we know better.

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