Unethical Behaviour Is Declining In The Private Sector

In a recent media release on the 9th July, South African Business Ethics Survey shows positive developments in ethics management.

It was concluded that there has been a marked decrease in the instances of misconduct observed by private sector employees in South Africa. This is one of the positive findings of the South African Business Ethics Survey in which 4099 employees in 15 companies were surveyed.

“These findings demonstrate that the concerted efforts by companies to ensure that their ethics is managed effectively – as required by Principle 1.3 of the King III Report – are paying off,” says Deon Rossouw, CEO of EthicsSA.

The good news is that another three areas that showed a significant improvement since the previous survey in 2009 are:

  • An increase in awareness of aspects of ethics programmes
  • Employees reporting a reduction in organisational pressure to engage in unethical conduct
  • Fewer people indicating the existence of situations inviting unethical conduct.

According to Rossouw, the survey demonstrates a clear correlation between a strong ethical culture and positive ethical behaviour by employees.

The bad news however, Rossouw says there has been no significant shift in the ethical culture of companies, despite the advances in ethics management that were made since the previous survey was conducted. “Essentially, the survey indicates that the ethical culture rating of companies remained more or less on the same levels as in 2009.”

This suggests that many South African businesses have a compliance approach to managing ethics, viewing it as a ‘tick-box exercise’, instead of a tool to create positive change in organisational culture.

An additional area that has shown a negative trend since 2009 is that ethics management interventions are seen to be less effective.

However, Rossouw concludes, “Companies’ willingness to commit to the development and implementation of formal ethics management programmes bodes well for the future of South African business.”

For more information and to review the full report visit www.ethicsa.org/index.php?pageid=28659

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