Workers demanding better ethics from their employers

2006

Enron and other corporate scandals have led to a sea-change in how employees view their own company's ethics, a U.S study has suggested.

The research from employee research and consulting firm ISR found a five-year increase in how employees view their company's ethics.

The study of more than 200,000 U.S. employees, examined issues of integrity, social responsibility and company values.

The research looked at the impact the media attention on corporate ethics scandals had had on U.S employees.

Between 2001 to 2005, it found that employee opinions on company integrity had increased by a significant 11 per cent.

Other ISR data also showed U.S employees becoming increasingly aware of corporate integrity, social responsibility and corporate ethics issues since 2001.

Other findings included a seven per cent increase since 2001 in positive employee opinions across the U.S. to the statement, "my company is socially responsible in the community".

Nationally, employee perceptions of internal corporate values increased from 78 per cent in 2001 to 82 per cent in 2005.

Likewise, perception of management's consistency with stated internal values increased from a 60 per cent positive response in 2001 to 65 per cent in 2005, said ISR.

"After the SEC began investigating Enron's accounting scandal in 2001, ISR documented an increased interest in better understanding the role ethics plays in a company's culture, from identifying potential landmines to determining how to make improvements before a crisis occurs," said ISR executive director Adam Zuckerman.

"Overall, these figures show there is reason to be optimistic about the improving state of ethics in corporate America," he added.

"Knowing where to focus your efforts is half the battle, and companies are clearly paying more attention to ethics," he concluded.