The Downside Of Ethics, Priorities In Life, Etc.

Ethics are a fine thing in the workplace, as long as they don’t cramp your career. Such seems to be the view, anyhow, of 18-24-year-olds polled by Zogby International. Respondents were nearly unanimous in agreeing that “honesty and trust are important in the workplace” (96 percent) and that doing the right thing is “more important than getting ahead in their careers” (92 percent). Still, 34 percent subscribed to the view that “doing the right thing can be too costly”; 31 percent said ethics are important “as long as they do not compromise personal goals.” Can’t have that!

Canada, Toyota, Dell, American Airlines. What, you ask, do those four have in common? Each ranked atop its category in a survey that asked gay and lesbian adults to name their favorite brands. The findings come from the Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census, conducted by G/L Census Partners (OpusComm Group and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University) and released by Scarborough Research. The choice of Canada as favorite foreign travel venue will confirm the dark suspicions of Americans who’ve long believed our northern neighbor isn’t altogether straight. But who knows what they will say about Mother Russia’s status as runner-up? In the airline category, Delta ran second, as did Hewlett-Packard in the computer group and Honda in the auto sector. New York was the favorite spot for domestic travel, with “any California destination” the runner-up in that category.

Clients are famously eager to have the brand name plastered all over their ads. That wish comes amply true for a new lip gloss from Stila—a product with the lower-case name “it gloss.” In an ad (created by The Press Cabinet of Los Angeles) with 41 words of body copy, “it” appears 10 times. Inspired by this spectacle, will some other marketer launch a brand named “the”?

As corporate mantras go, “Debrief the geezer” may not have a ring to it. But companies need to internalize the sentiment it embodies—and, says a new Accenture report, they haven’t done so. “Many U.S. organizations are failing to capture critical workforce knowledge from older employees facing retirement, and few organizations are transferring that knowledge to newer employees,” the report concludes on the basis of polling among full-time workers age 40-50. Forty-five percent of respondents said their employers “do not have formal workforce planning processes and/or tools in place to capture their workplace knowledge.” Twenty-six percent said their employers will let them head out to pasture “without any transfer of knowledge”; another 16 percent said “they will simply have an informal discussion with others in the organization prior to retirement.” Just one in five expect “an intensive, months-long process of knowledge transfer prior to their leaving.” Elsewhere in the poll, 70 percent of respondents said they expect to stay with their current employer until they retire. (The study was silent on whether the employers feel the same way.) Forty-six percent said they’d be willing to relocate for their current company, exceeding the number who said they’d be willing to work longer hours (39 percent).

They’d rather be green than too hot or too cold. Or maybe they just want to keep their electric bills down. Either way, a survey of homeowners by Decision Analyst finds that greater energy efficiency is the most sought-after benefit when they upgrade their heating and air-conditioning systems. In the survey, 46 percent cited energy efficiency, twice the number who mentioned “better temperature control” (23 percent) or “improved air flow” (22 percent). A bit farther down the list were “reduced noise level” (21 percent), “better humidity control” (19 percent) and “faster heating or cooling” (17 percent).

The high-tech cheapskate is alive and well. In a survey of online consumers by JupiterResearch, 44 percent expressed interest in watching video for free on their cell phones. However, fewer than half as many (19 percent) said that they would be willing to pay anything for such a service. Thus, the research firm predicts that the cell phone will remain “voice-centric” for the time being.

Given how common divorce is, one might suppose family life is an also-ran on the list of things people value in life. A new survey by The Barna Group suggests that’s not true at all. As you can see from the chart above, a plurality of Americans rate a satisfying family life as their top priority in life. The number was even a little higher (47 percent) among respondents who’ve been divorced. Among all respondents, women were more likely than men (48 percent vs. 39 percent) to cite a satisfying family life as their top priority. The figure rose to 58 percent among parents with at least one child under age 18 in the house. It stood at 35 percent among people without a child at home. In a geographical breakdown, living in line with one’s religious principles scored better in the South and the West (19 percent in each region) than in the East and the Midwest (15 percent in each). “African-Americans were the ethnic group most prone to prioritizing their faith focus (24 percent), while Asian-Americans were the least likely (12 percent),” says the report. “Having good friends” rated higher with men than with women (13 percent vs. 7 percent), and it posted an especially strong vote (18 percent) among what Barna characterized as “downscale” adults. Respondents age 60-plus also had an above-average propensity for giving top billing to friendship (16 percent).

The feisty old coot is among the stock characters we see in ads. In real life, old folks tend not to be so combative. Rather, research indicates they’ve learned the virtue of letting things blow over when a conflict arises. In a University of Michigan study, people were asked to describe the most recent “upsetting situation” they’d had with those close to them. “Younger people were more likely to shout, argue or walk away in response to problems, while older people were more likely to do nothing.” In accounting for this pattern, the researchers speculate that old folks may “mellow as they age and value their relationships more, instead of becoming grumpier and more like the stereotypical curmudgeons.” Or it may just be that “today’s older people have better manners than younger people”—which wouldn’t be saying much.