Revealed: The pressures causing employees to act unethically in their workplace


Much of the corporate world tends to be driven by a desire for instantaneous results which produce favourable financial returns. Consequently, the principles of ethics in a range of actions and decisions can often end up taking a back seat.

Organisation’s which do not implement the fundamental pillars of ethics (honesty, integrity, fairness and transparency) within their practices and operations – will undoubtedly run into a magnitude of problems and potentially devastatingly scandals.

Interested in business ethics, digital marketing specialists Reboot Digital Agency analysed the latest findings from the Institute of Business Ethics, who surveyed 764 UK employees to see if they had compromised their organisation’s standards of ethical behaviour and if so, what were the ‘pressures’ that pushed them to do so.

An organisation which is under-resourced (35%) is the biggest factor which influences UK employees to act unethically in their workplace

Thereafter, 34% have taken unethical actions and decisions due to the time-pressures they face to complete and deliver on their work

Opposingly, the motive for 11% of workers being immoral, stemmed from them viewing their organisation’s culture as one that is already unethical

33% revealed their line manager rewarded employees, even when they knew they had used practices which were ethically questionable to achieve good results

Ethics apply to all types of organisations and cover the running of various areas/aspects of a business, including to those individuals who work for them. When employees violate ethics in an organisation, they can vary between minor (e.g. using company petrol for personal mileage, stealing office supplies, taking a ‘sick day’ when not ill etc.) and serious offences (e.g. bullying, fraud, discrimination, misreporting of hours worked etc.) of misconduct.

Worryingly, 33% revealed their line manager rewarded employees, even when they knew they had used practices which were ethically questionable to achieve good results. This statistic echo’s that from renowned accountancy firm ‘Ernst & Young’, whose own research showed that 42% of UK employees feel their senior management would act in an unethical manner to help a business survive.

Circle Managing Director Steve Ricketts comments: "Recruitment is an industry that times has a questionable reputation in terms of ethics. This reputation is often deserved. Our advice to employers is to conduct due diligence when selecting their recruitment partners. Look into the ethics and standards or a potential supplier. At Circle, whilst our staff are trained to Investors in People standard, they also adhere not only to the REC's Code of Practice, but also the Code of Practice of the ARC, assuring customers that we strive to the highest possible standards".

Post by Peter Hutchins October 22 2018 Categories: News, Random, Recruitment