The Economy’s Effect on Ethics

Has economic pressure brought workplace behavior down or lifted it up?

Has the recession strengthened our ethical instincts? According to the results of the sixth National Business Ethics Survey, recently announced by the Ethics Resource Center, it may have.

However, ERC suggests caution: Previous National Business Ethics surveys detected a similar pattern from 2000 to 2003, when the economy was affected by Enron and other corporate scandals, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the aftermath of 9/11. ERC reports that its ethics metrics all improved during that period, only to fall back until the onset of the current recession.

For more information on the survey results, visit www.ethics.org/nbes.

Employees witnessing misconduct on the job

2007:

56%

2009:

49%

Employees reporting observed misconduct

2007:

58%

2009:

63%

Perceived pressure to commit ethics violations

2007:

10%

2009:

8%