Philippa Foster Back on Ethics at Work [Podcast]


By Adam Turteltaub

In 2005 the London-based Institute of Business Ethics conducted its first Ethics at Work survey.   At the time it focused solely on Great Britain.  Since then, as Philippa Foster Back, the IBE’s Director explains, the survey has grown to include twelve European countries.

The findings from the latest issue of this one-every-three-years survey were fascinating.  They found that more than three-quarters of employees thought that their corporation is honest.  The reasons for the positive feelings were codes of ethics and training for one.  In addition, Philippa tells us in the podcast, the corporate responsibility movement has raised awareness in employees’ eyes about how companies are behaving in the community.

On the flip side, several factors can undermine employee faith.  In particular: people who see things wrong in their organization and don’t see the organization taking responsibility to stop it, particularly if someone had the courage to speak up and raise the issue.

She encourages organizations, if they want employees to come forward, to write the speak-up policy from the user’s point of view.  Put yourself, she advises, in the shoes of someone who has seen something and wants to raise an issue:  Who is going to take the helpline call?  What will they ask me?

Second, if your policy calls on employees to try to take the issue to their manager or supervisor, make sure that manager or supervisor knows how to handle the issue.

Listen in to gain more of Philippa Foster Back’s insights.


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