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Ethisphere Launches 2024 Ethical Culture Report Focused on Speak Up Culture 

Report Highlights the Perceptions of 2+ Million Employees Worldwide and Reveals Top Reasons for Not Speaking Up include Fear of Retaliation and Disbelief that Corrective Action Will Be Taken

June 20, 2024 – Ethisphere®, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, today unveiled the 2024 Ethical Culture Insights Report. The report derives insights produced from Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethical Culture Quotient (CQ) data set, which studies the elements of ethical culture, such as whether employees will report any ethical wrongdoings within their organization. The report can be downloaded here. 

Data for this report was collected from Ethisphere’s 2024 Culture Data Set, which includes over two million employee responses from April 2020 through March 2024. The 54-question survey focused on reporting behavior and how the behavior reflected certain realities around organizational speak up culture. 

Key Findings from the Report: 

  • Misconduct Goes Unreported – although 93% of employees say they would report misconduct if they witnessed it; when it comes down to actually witnessing misconduct, however, only 50% of employees actually report it. 
  • Fear of Retaliation a Top Reason Employees Don’t Speak Up48% of employees who observed perceived misconduct cite fear of retaliation as their reason for not reporting misconduct, even though they wanted to. An equal percentage (48%) of employees did not report because they didn’t believe that corrective action would be taken. 
  • Yet…Employees Trust Companies to Uphold Anti-Retaliation Policies83% of employees are aware that their employer prohibits retaliation against employees who report misconduct or participate in an investigation; and 77% of employees believe the organization as a whole will uphold anti-retaliation policies. 
  • Non-Binary/Third Gender Employees Less Trustful in Just Treatment –  “there is a 21-point gap in favorable perception of just treatment in the workplace among male and female identifying employees compared to those who identify as non-binary/third gender employees or employees who prefer to not identify their gender. 

“Assessing and improving the speak up culture in companies around the world is a foundational component of our mission,” said Douglas Allen, Ethisphere’s Vice President, Data Strategy. “As ethics practitioners, measuring the perceptions of your employees on their comfort level in speaking up, perceptions of values, and whether leadership is setting the right example answers the question of whether your program is working and if your culture of compliance is strong. Powering these insights are millions of employees across two dozen industries and 121 countries, representing the largest dataset of its kind.” 

Ethisphere’s Eight Pillars of Ethical Culture 

The Eight Pillars of ethical culture that Ethisphere measures are: 

  • Awareness of Ethics and Compliance (E&C) Program and Resources 
  • Perceptions of the Effectiveness of the E&C Function – Training, Communications, etc. 
  • Observing and Reporting Ethical Misconduct 
  • Pressure to Compromise Standards to Meet Goals 
  • Organizational Justice – Perceptions of Wrongdoer Accountability Across Roles 
  • Manager Perceptions – Supervisor Conduct and Ability to Approach with Concerns 
  • Perceptions of Conduct, Values and Communications of Senior Leadership 
  • Perceptions of Values and Priorities Among Peers and Environment 

These eight foundational pillars serve as a framework for systematically and objectively capturing employee sentiment on the formal and informal ethical systems of the enterprise. Developed by Ethisphere experts in collaboration with members of its Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), each pillar is designed to provide insights that lead to clear action and remediation (or praise) where it is most needed. The report provides excellent takeaways for all companies, but also provides data that leaders can use to determine if their ethics programs are lacking and if they need additional help in building a strong culture. 

Register for Ethisphere’s Masterclass to Learn More! 

Join Ethisphere’s experts for a 3-part Masterclass series  diving into the latest findings featured in this new report. The masterclasses, which can also be viewed on-demand, will examine interesting insights from Ethisphere’s data set and discuss ways in which organizations can assess and transform their ethical culture. Register today.  

About Ethisphere 

Ethisphere is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust, and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere also helps to advance business performance through data-driven assessments, guidance, and benchmarking against its unparalleled data: the Culture Quotient dataset focused on ethical culture and featuring the responses of 2+ million employees around the world; and the Ethics Quotient dataset, featuring 200+ data points highlighting the ethics, compliance, social, and governance practices of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit