Unethical corporate behavior is linked to pressure from upper management to meet unrealistic business objectives and deadlines, according to an American Management Association and Human Resource Institute survey.

Working in an environment with cynicism or diminished morale, improper training and a lack of consequences for one’s actions are all likely causes of unethical behavior, according to the survey.

“Corporate leaders need to communicate ethical values throughout the organization, but they must do more than talk the talk in order to establish and sustain an ethical culture,” said Edward T. Reilly, president and CEO of the American Management Association.

To combat unethical behavior the AMA and HRI recommend:
  • Establish policies to ensure ethical practices
  • Include leadership supporter and modeling of ethical behavior
  • Provide consistent communication from management
  • Integrate ethics into goals, processes and strategies
  • Follow through on promises
  • Keep employees informed of decision making
  • Establish a corporate code of conduct