Almost one in eight (12%) employees have broken their current organisation’s standards of ethical behaviour, with a lack of resources, time pressure and a need to make shortcuts as common reasons why.
This is according to research from Reboot Digital Agency, which asked 764 UK employees about attitudes towards ethics in their business.
A third (35%) reported feeling pressured to act unethically because they felt under-resourced, 34% blamed time pressures for their ‘bad’ behaviour, and 26% pointed the finger at a need to take business shortcuts.
“Ethics provide businesses with guiding values and principles by which they can operate in a moral and accountable manner,” explains Shai Aharony, Managing Director of Reboot Digital Agency.
“Ideally, organisations and their employees should be abiding by them in everything they do. But in the backdrop of a challenging and uncertain economic climate, this has become less and less the case.
“Colossal economic events such as Brexit are only adding to workers existing pressures and creating new ones."
"This in turn is causing workers to take unethical shortcuts in their duties and obligations. These occurrences are unfortunate, but I believe senior management have a significant role to play in controlling the expectations they create for their employees.”
However, 28% said they felt the need to break the rules was down to their boss’s orders, and 13% did so in order to meet unrealistic targets they had been set, suggesting management has a strong role to play in discouraging unethical behaviour.
“Depending on their role, making sure objectives for each employee are realistic,” suggests Aharony. “That way, employees won’t feel the pressure nor urge to take any unethical actions and decisions to achieve them”.