Records Management & Compliance: Making the Connection

By Kahn, Randolph A. | Information Management, May/June 2004 | Go to article overview

Records Management & Compliance: Making the Connection

Kahn, Randolph A., Information Management

Organizations must take a proactive and holistic approach to compliance that ensures the business, technological, and legal challenges of records management are addressed

At the Core

This article

* discusses the importance of a records management program to an organization

* defines the concept of information management compliance (IMC)

* examines the seven key elements of an IMC framework

* In response to the WorldCom bankruptcy filing, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) takes swift and dramatic action to deal with what was perceived as a wholly inadequate records management program and imposes an $800-an-hour monitor on WorldCom (now MCI). The monitor's task is to ensure that the company "has developed document retention policies and... has complied with these policies"

* A. U.S. federal agency notifies a flight school six months after the September 11 terrorist attacks that two of the terrorists have been approved for student visas. The agency admits that its "current system for collecting information is... antiquated, outdated, inaccurate, and untimely."

* The SEC fines five brokerage firms $8.25 million for failure to retain e-mail records. In addition to the monetary penalty, the firms are required to "review their procedures to ensure compliance with recordkeeping statutes and rules."

* The former CFO and sales manager of a defunct Internet company are indicted on charges of falsifying records, among other things.

* The CEO of a pharmaceutical company is found guilty, sentenced to seven years in jail, and forced to pay a $3 million penalty for obstruction of justice because he "directed another individual to ... delete certain computer files... containing phone messages he received ... and documents evidencing [his] instructions."

Cases of records mismanagement, improper destruction, and falsification have cost billions of dollars, ended careers, decimated reputations, and caused some companies to wither away. Clearly, something is seriously broken. Although many records management programs probably never functioned as they should have to begin with, for most corporations it was not until the last few years that anyone took notice. Now everyone ostensibly cares about records. In reality, however, how many records management programs are effective enough to serve business objectives and protect the organization?

The Records Program as Business Facilitator and Insurance Policy

Records are the way that institutions "speak." Over time, employees transfer, retire, forget, die, or quit. Records, however, are and always will be needed to ensure that the organization continues to function and can protect its business and legal interests. More specifically, records allow organizations - among other things - to perform business planning, deal with customers' needs, protect legal interests, take care of business needs, and comply with laws, regulations, auditors, and courts. Records management is the process of managing the corporate memory in a way that makes trustworthy records readily accessible any time they are required.

While these business drivers and generalized legal needs are real, what increasingly drives the discussion today is the organization's goal to be perceived as a good corporate citizen. Corporate directors, executives, and investors all demand assurance that the records management program will not negatively impact them and will provide a degree of protection from claims of wrongdoing.

Just as they need insurance, companies of size and substance need a records program to ensure that they are covered if and when trouble strikes. In the records management context, that means an organisation can demonstrate that it has an effective and institutionalized way to manage all records and to do what is expected of a good corporate citizen. At minimum, that means that an organization retains records based on sound business judgment and in conformity with legal requirements and considerations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Records Management & Compliance: Making the Connection


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.