An investigation into the relationship between diversity and compliance in Irish organisations


The aim of this research was to investigate the perceptions of senior compliance professionals in Irish organisations regarding potential connections between the area of diversity and compliance. The research followed a qualitative design to address the research questions and to gather and summarise the data. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather primary data from senior compliance professionals based in five organisations spanning the public sector and the financial services sector. The Central Bank of Ireland (‘Central Bank’) report Behaviour and Culture of the Irish Retail Banks (2018a) was reviewed alongside Irish and UK Corporate Governance Codes and Corporate Governance Reviews in the UK. The Central Bank in their reviews of retail banking following the financial crises of 2007 - 2008, have suggested that increasing diversity on boards is related to an improvement in culture and behaviours. The variables in the research are diversity in the form of gender and compliance in public sector organisations as opposed to private financial services companies. The following themes emerged from the results found. Diversity is not a topic in Compliance Programmes and companies are largely not making the link with improvements in diversity having a positive effect on compliance. However, in assessing future risks, financial services companies are aware of the changing regulatory environment and are taking account of diversity in the Compliance Programmes. Analysis of the interviews suggested that a collaborative type of leadership model is viewed as conducive to an inclusive culture where diversity can be embedded. The future focus now needs to move from not alone having diversity in the workplace but to the proactive inclusion of those diverse people in the organisation.
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