Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Damning Business Ethics Report from the USA

I am grateful to Norman Marks in his blog for bringing this latest annual report from the Ethics Resource Center to my attention. The team surveyed nearly 5,000 people across the USA.

Consider some disturbing headlines;

  • 42% of respondents described their companies as having a 'weak ethics culture'
  • 45% have witnessed misconduct. And we are not talking about pinching the odd pen
    • 13% Health & Safety violations
    • 12% Stealing
    • 11% Sexual Harrassment
    • 11% Substance abuse
  • 65% reported the misconduct
  • 22% suffered retribution as a result, including;
    • 64% excluded from decisions or work activity by supervisor or manager
    • 62% verbal abuse by supervisor or manager
    • 55% not given promotion or pay rise
    • 32% demoted
    • 31% experienced physical harm to self or property 
    • 29% harrassed at home
62% still have confidence in senior maanagement but 34% do not believe their line managers display ethical behaviour

So we have two worlds; the significant number of wrongdoers on one side and a substantial number of people who are outraged by it and will act to denounce it, regardless of the very real consequences.

Although this survey was conducted in the USA I very much doubt that things are much different in the UK. It is not news that whistleblowers often suffer for their ethical stand but I am cheered to learn that nearly 80% did not suffer consequences.

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