Authenticity of Intent

A common question that has plagued many organizations thrust into the negative media spotlight by their personnel is whether or not the individual acted maliciously, or acted in the absence of policy or guidance. The question at the core of the corporate investigation centere on the individuals’ Authenticity of Intent.

Simply defined, Authenticity of Intent is a conclusion arrived at with regard to an individual (or corporations’) actions or conduct in the absence of unambiguous guidance, or policy. 

When addressing the question of Authenticity of Intent it’s important for leaders to recognize the reactive nature of the question and respond appropriately. Often the first response to the question assumes malice on the part of the individual, as opposed to unclear policy or guidance. Three considerations can reveal the Authenticity of Intent:

1. Was unambiguous guidance provided?

2. Do clearly constructed policies exist relevant to the situation?

3. If guidance was not given and relevant policy did not exist, was the position or function of the individual such that a reasonable person would have acted similarly given similar circumstances? 

If the answer to questions 1 or 2 is “no,” then move to question 3 for a conclusion. If the answer to question 3 is yes, then the Authenticity of Intent has been met, and appropriate training, re-training, policy review or development should occur. 
If the answer to questions 1 or 2 is “yes,” then there is no need to move on to question 3. Guidelines regarding sanctions may be administered.
Essentially the inquiry revolves around the theme, “did the individual intentionally act egregiously, or was the act one based on best intentions based on the totality of the circumstances?”
Dr. Eugene Matthews