Workplace Ethics

We hope you didn’t steal this copy of Adweek from a colleague. If you did, you’ve added to the incidence of ethical misconduct in the workplace. In a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports for the Hudson professional-staffing firm, 31 percent of respondents said they’ve seen a co-worker engaging in unethical or illegal behavior. And among those who’ve witnessed such activity, a bare majority (52 percent) said they told someone in authority. While work isn’t an ethical minefield for all employees (as the chart indicates), the number who cope with “gray areas” on a regular basis is significant. It’s not that companies haven’t made their norms clear: 78 percent of respondents said their company “clearly communicates what it considers ethical and unethical behavior,” while 74 percent said the higher-ups at work “generally behave with honesty and integrity as leaders.”