LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Penn State, Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky continue to make headlines.
In light of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, and its aftermath, the Freeh Report describes a "culture of reverence" for the school's football program. This "reverence," the report states, provided an atmosphere for Jerry Sandusky to commit his crimes.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse.
A recent article from Poynter Institute describes how a leadership meltdown, like the one at Penn State, could happen in any university, business or organization.
Among the eight conditions described in this meltdown: "Managers have made 'No Whining' such a pervasive mantra that people hear it as 'No Whistleblowing.' They fear bringing bad news to bosses who don't want to hear it."
Dr. Terry Richard is a Professor of Sociology and Gerontology at UALR.
"The individuals at the top don't like to hear themselves contradicted...that is not an uncommon pattern in almost any organization," Dr. Richard said.
He said everyone from employees to students to church members must keep a written log of any ethical dilemma that arises.
"They must, in many cases, look to see if anyone else saw that particular activity, or if it's in fact a pattern of behavior....because if you don't it just becomes a he said, she said. Lawyers will tell you there's no chance of this going anywhere," said Dr. Richard.
Arkansas has seen its own share of leadership meltdown, including the financial scandal at UCA involving former President Lu Hardin.
In October of 2011, Hardin was sentenced to five years probation and 200 hours community service for fraud and money laundering.
And in Fayetteville, former Hogs head coach Bobby Petrino was fired from the University of Arkansas in April in a scandal involving a 25-year-old staffer.
But it's not limited to schools. It happens in the workplace.
Dr. Jane Wayland is the Dean of the College of Business at UALR.
"Are the systems there for you to catch the wrongdoing? And that may not be the case," Dr. Wayland said.
So what can managers, leadership, do to create this environment where people are not afraid of being punished for reporting unethical behavior?
"We talk about integrity. We have value statements and we have those things in our mission statements, but what's very important is that leadership practice what they preach. And that's the most important thing," Dr. Wayland said.
One of the problems in all scandals like these: no employee wants to speak up, often for fear of losing their jobs.
Wayland added that an organization needs to create an environment where people feel safe when pointing out issues.
Here are the eight conditions Poynter lists:
1. Your organization uses words like "integrity" and "values" in promotional literature, but leaders rarely utter them in the course of daily decisions, much less the toughest ones.
2. Your organization has decided that Human Resources is a budget luxury and has reduced its function to record-keeping.
3. Your employee handbook encourages people to confide in the HR department. But yours has developed a reputation as a black hole for employee complaints, existing only to protect management. People believe life will get worse for them if they raise questions or concerns about powerful people. If it's a myth, no one has dispelled it.
4. Training is reduced to only those things that show an immediate return on investment, not "touchy-feely" stuff like ethics and values. We all know the rules around here and just use common sense, right?
5. Managers identify more closely with colleagues under scrutiny rather than their potential victims. It sounds something like this: "Heck, if every boss who made a pass at an intern got fired, you couldn't run the business. Besides have you seen how some of those kids dress?"
6. Managers' hands are just a little bit dirty, not a lot. ("Sure, I've taken a few modest gifts, but it's not enough to be a conflict of interest. Not me.") When someone with much muddier mitts is uncovered, concern about being tarred with the same brush causes people to downplay the seriousness of the situation.
7. Managers have made "No Whining" such a pervasive mantra that people hear it as "No Whistleblowing." They fear bringing bad news to bosses who don't want to hear it.
8. Employees are evaluated on metrics alone, not on how they achieved them. Rainmakers and stars are protected, insulated, forgiven - so long as they perform.