Category Archives: Theory/Research

Ethics Resource Center Report Says Unethical Behavior Has NOT Increased

A devastated American economy did not translate into an increase in unethical behavior at U.S. companies, according to a new study from the Ethics Resource Center (ERC).  Although the ERC’s 2009 National Business Ethics Survey report found that retaliation against employees who reported misconduct has increased slightly since a similar survey two years earlier, most other measures of ethical behavior improved.  According to the report:

  • Overall misconduct at U.S. workplaces is down. Fewer employees said they had witnessed misconduct on the job. This measure fell from 56 percent in 2007 to 49 percent in 2009.
  • Whistle-blowing has increased. Most workers—63 percent—who observed misconduct said that they reported it. That’s up from 58 percent two years earlier.
  • Ethical culture appears to be stronger. ERC’s measures of the strength of the ethical culture in the workplace increased from 53 percent in 2007 to 62 percent in 2009.
  • Pressure to cut corners has decreased. Overall, employees who perceived pressure to commit an ethics violation—to cut corners, or worse—declined slightly, from 10 percent in 2007 to 8 percent in the latest survey.
  • Perceived retaliation as a result of a report of misconduct rose, from 12 to 15 percent, over the two years.

However, the ERC report sounds a warning: “The lesson for organizations is that when more settled, prosperous times return, misconduct is likely to creep upward again” as the sense of crisis dissipates.

Is Fraud Increasing in the UK? SPSS Research Report

I’m not sure what to make of this report out of the UK conducted by SPSS/IBM.  It seems to be focused towards the IT side of business but makes a claim early on that there has been “around a 16 per cent overall growth in fraud throughout the UK” during this recession.  But, when you look at the statistics, only 12% of surveyed companies cited an increase in fraud while “82% asserted its constancy.”

As I have asserted in the past, it is important how we present our business case around our function.  We cannot lead with questionable claims and statistics if we want to be taken credibly.  Take a look at this report here and see if you can make more sense of it that I can…

Research Report: Loss Prevention 2010

RSR Research’s latest report, “Loss Prevention 2010: Retailers Battling Shrink in Tough Times” finds more retailers than ever reporting the priority of LP rising in their organizations. These findings are based on a survey of 83 retailers in the autumn of 2009. The report can be downloaded at

Corporate Crime Up In Canada

Corporate crime has risen in Canada over the last year, with sour economic conditions cited as a factor, according a new report.  Survey results released Thursday by global business-advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers shows 56 per cent of Canadian companies saying they had been victims of economic crimes within the previous 12 months. That was up four percentage points from a similar study done in 2007 and 10 points higher than what was reported in 2003.

There were 52 Canadian firms involved in the survey, which was conducted in the fall.  Read the article here.

Research Poll: Americans Approve of Video Surveillance to Fight Terrorism

A recent Harris Poll survey indicates that 96 percent of U.S citizens feel the federal government and law enforcement agencies should be able to use video surveillance in an effort to counteract terrorism and help protect U.S. citizens in specific public places.

Four out of five adults feel that in extreme cases, such as a terrorist attack, the government should be able to use any available means to protect citizens, and more than half (54 percent) of U.S. adults are even willing to put a portion of the government’s stimulus funds toward setting up video surveillance to help reduce crime.   Read the full article here.