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Original sentence: "If ethics and business are to be viewed as inextricably linked, management must play an important role in this process, ensuring that a company follows an ethical code of conduct"

(1) [...] management must play an important role in this process and must ensure that a company follows an ethical code of conduct

(2) [...] management must play an important role in this process which ensures that a company follows an ethical code of conduct

Does "ensuring" refer to the management who must ensure that ... (1) or does it refer to the process which needs to ensure that ... (2)?

I know that sentences like: "I see a men who is walking on the road" could be transferred to "I see a men walking on the road". However, I see often this construct above which is not easy to distinguish as an English learner. What is the rule behind it?

Thanks in advance!

  • '[M]anagement must play an important role in this process, ensuring that ...' means that the important role and ensuring XXX are virtual synonyms rather than separate components. (2) better reflects this. This is not a matter of which is grammatically correct, so I've re-tagged. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 3 at 18:18
  • By doing what comes before ensuring, management is ensuring all that comes after ensuring. So, by playing that role, management produces ethical conduct. – Yosef Baskin Jul 3 at 18:26
  • Management sets the processes and ensure.... (here it is the 'management') 2) Management sets the processes which ensure....(here, it is the 'processes'). These are the types of sentences in big companies (e.g. Xerox Corpn.) where the employees have to sign a document named "Business ethics and conflict of interest policy". All it means is that "Management sets a process to ensure.... – Ram Pillai Aug 3 at 3:46
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So far as the grammatical structure of the sentence is concerned, there is arguably an ambiguity as to whether the management or the process does the ensuring. In view of there being a comma after process, the most natural reading of the sentence is as something like:

management must play an important role in this process, which consists in the management's ensuring that a company follows . . . .

It is, however, not very important whether we read the sentence in this way or as something like:

management must play an important role in this process, which ensures that a company follows . . . .

Even though the two differ grammatically, one would be hard pressed to find any real difference between the ideas they convey. The sentence, in any event, appears to be a piece of managerial rhetoric, which is probably written without the expectation that it would be subjected to careful critical scrutiny.

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