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What prompts employees to exhibit ethical behaviour?

Ethical attitude is so deeply rooted in the blood of the employees of a few typical organizations that it does not need any litmus test to ascertain its presence. Ethical behaviour is almost spontaneous among them. An outsider when sees the reflection of such a high level of ethical behaviour and comes in its contact, he/she not only becomes just astonished but also gets transformed within no time.

My long innings with one of such ethical organizations are full of many such experiences. Some of them are so unique that they easily can become a matter of owner’s pride for any organization. Out of several incidents, I would like to share only one so that you get an essence of it.

I got the opportunity to work closely with the rank & files of the organization and I could find real Ethical Behaviour in them.

Ethical Behaviours are exhibited more by the employees belonging to the lowest strata of the organization. They may not know the definitions of business ethics or corporate ethical culture but they surely know how to remain ethical even in adverse circumstances. Who taught them to do so?

To find an appropriate answer, I conducted one survey where I put up a question, “One can find real ethical behaviour among the blue collared employees of the organization. Who taught these ethical behaviours to them?”

The survey result was as follows:

  • Family culture and upbringing - 54%

  • Company HR and Ethics Officer - 4%

  • Stringent laws of the land - nil

  • All of them in combination - 42%

Although ‘family culture and upbringing’ plays a significant role, the contribution of the HR, Ethics Officer and stringent laws, rules & regulations can not be ignored.


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