A new study produced by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and Business in the Community (BITC) has asked business leaders and managers about their own values, the values of the organisations they work for, and any ethical dilemmas they have faced in the workplace.

63% of the managers surveyed say that they have been asked to do something contrary to their own ethical code at some point in their career, while 43% of managers have been told to behave in direct violation of their organisation's own values statements, and 9% had been asked to break the law.

While 83% of managers say their organisations have a statement of values, it appears that employee behaviour often does not fully reflect them. In fact, one in eight managers say that the way people behave in their organisations is ‘not that close' (9%) or ‘not close at all' (3%) to their organisational values.

Just 38% of all managers surveyed feel that behaviour and company values in their organisation are ‘very closely' aligned, compared to 66% of directors.

Amongst the survey's other key finds were:

  • one in ten managers have left their jobs as a result of being asked to do something at work that made them feel uncomfortable
  • over a quarter (27%) of the people surveyed were concerned they would be negatively affected if they were to report an ethical breach
  • 77% of managers believe that public expectations on business ethics have risen in recent years.

The research was drawn from a quantitative survey as well as roundtable discussions with business leaders. You can access it in full by clicking here.