Tuesday, February 04, 2014

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[IWS] NATIONAL BUSINSESS ETHICS SURVEY OF THE U.S. WORKFORCE [4 February 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Ethics Resource Center (ERC)

 

NATIONAL BUSINSESS ETHICS SURVEY OF THE U.S. WORKFORCE [4 February 2014]

http://www.ethics.org/downloads/2013NBESFinalWeb.pdf

[full-text, 50 pages]

 

The National Business Ethics Survey® (NBES®) generates the U.S. benchmark on

ethical behavior in corporations. Findings represent the views of the American

workforce in the private sector. Since 1994, the NBES and its supplemental

reports have provided business leaders a snapshot of trends in workplace ethics

and an identification of the drivers that improve ethical workforce behavior.

With every report, ERC researchers identify the strategies that business leaders

can adopt to strengthen ethics cultures of their businesses.

 

[excerpt]

...Ourmain conclusion is that NBES 2013 is telling us that ethics and compliance (E&C) programs

work. Business organizations' deep and long standing investment in E&C is paying dividends

and may be fostering a fundamental change in worker behavior. Optimistically, we think we

may be witnessing the emergence of a new workplace norm in which workers are predisposed

to adhere to high standards of conduct and honor the rules.

Having said that, while misconduct overall is on the decline, the nature of these misdeeds is

alarming. A strong majority of misconduct is attributable to individuals who hold some level of

management responsibility. If allowed to persist, rule-breaking by managers bodes ill for ethics

cultures, because managers set the tone for everyone else. The data also show that a significant

amount of misconduct happens on a continuing basis and about 12 percent of it takes place

company-wide.

Also distressing is the fact that the percentage of workers who report the misconduct they

observed has stalled, after consistent growth in the previous three NBES studies....

 

As we considered what steps business could take to maintain the momentum against workplace

misconduct, we were informed by some key findings:

❚❚ Workplace misconduct hit a historic low in 2013 and has been trending steadily down for

more than half a decade.

❚❚ At least for now, the rule of thumb that the economy and misconduct rise and fall together

should be discarded. In the past, economic growth appeared to nurture misconduct by

encouraging workers and companies alike to take more risks. But in 2011 and 2013,

misconduct fell even as the economy improved.

❚❚ The broad positive trend in misconduct is clouded by micro-numbers showing that

managers, especially senior managers, frequently break rules – a troubling reality given

that leaders set the tone for an organization. We worry that if managers continue to commit

misdeeds, lower level employees will follow their bad example.

❚❚ The data also show that a substantial amount of misconduct repeats itself over and over,

and that some types of misdeeds occur company-wide.

❚❚ Reporting of misconduct was essentially unchanged from 2011, and retaliation is stuck at

high levels.

❚❚ Certain egregious types of corruption – bribery, unlawful political contributions, and

accepting inappropriate gifts – are primarily local affairs, perhaps driven by informal

relationships and lax enforcement of policies or the law that can happen close to home.

 

CONTENTS

Foreword ..................................................................................................................................................8

Methodology...........................................................................................................................................10

Executive Summary ..............................................................................................................................12

Observed Misconduct Rate Drops to Historic Low........................................................................14

In-Depth Look: A Clearer Picture of Misconduct

(and the Trouble It Reveals) ...................................................................................................................20

A Deeper Look at Corruption .............................................................................................................23

Reporting & Retaliation: Two Key Outcomes Do Not Improve ....................................................26

Understanding How & Why Employees Report...............................................................................29

Can Regulation Affect Behavior?.........................................................................................................34

Conclusions & Recommendations......................................................................................................36

Appendix..................................................................................................................................................41

NBES Advisory Group.............................................................................................................................46

The NBES Team .......................................................................................................................................47

 

[Thanks to Steve Miranda, Managing Director, Center for Advanced HR Studies (CAHRS, Cornell University ILR School, for the tip].

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 




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