What it was:
Review of an article on business ethics current trends as part of my CIPR CPD. Source: https://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/briefings/ibe_survey_attitudes_of_the_british_public_to_business_ethics_2017.pdf
What I learned:
Trust in business ethics has recovered very slightly (48% to 52%) since last year
The key issues of concern are:
- Corporate tax avoidance
- Executive pay
- Exploitative labour practices
- Work/life balance
As an observation – these top 4 issues are (arguably) linked, focusing around perceived unfairness between senior executives and staff.
The report notes that the relative recovery in attitudes to business ethics could be driven by falls in attitudes to ethics in other sectors (presumably Government)
Among the lower-level issues of ethical concern, Human Rights has dropped off as a concern. Meanwhile Data/Privacy has grown as an issue of concern.
Millennials appear less concerned about data privacy, perhaps counter-intuitively?
What I will aim to do differently as a result:
- Recognise that corporate reputation concerns are affected by current events and press coverage, just as in the public sector
- Appreciate that the public’s issues of ethical concern evolve over time but show reasonable consistency from year to year – i.e. they are not overly driven by current events
- Recognise that underlying themes (e.g. perceived unfairness between senior executives and staff) can manifest across numerous ethical themes
- Remember that different generations of staff may react differently to ethical issues.