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Ethisphere Launches New Ethical Culture Findings: Employees Are More Than Twice as Likely to Report Concerns to Managers Over Hotlines

New Report Highlights the Importance and Impact of Manager Engagement in Employees Reporting Misconduct; and Recommends Ways to Best Equip Managers

Sixty-four percent of employees raise ethical misconduct concerns with managers compared to 23 percent who used an ethics hotline to do so. These findings are featured in a new Ethisphere report – Insights from Our Culture Quotient Data Set: Volume Two – Focusing on the Role of the Manager in Influencing Ethical Culture. The report also showcases how the ongoing one-to-one experience with a manager in addressing ethics and compliance can make or break employee perceptions and levels of satisfaction with how concerns are addressed. Moreover, the report features practical guidance for equipping managers to engage with employees on ethics and compliance.

The second Ethical Culture Insights report was released today by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing standards of ethical business practices. The report is based on Ethisphere’s proprietary Culture Quotient (CQ) data set representing the viewpoints of more than four million employees. The report can be downloaded at

“Ethical culture is foundational to the success of organizations today. Investors, regulators, and employees are all calling on companies to lead with integrity. Our data offer insights into the elements that define robust cultures and advance long-term sustainability and value,” said Erica Salmon Byrne, Executive Vice President, Data and Services, Ethisphere.

“Managers play a critical role that goes beyond dealing with individual reports of misconduct. Our data shows that when managers regularly discuss ethics and compliance, employees are 11 percent more likely to report observed misconduct, more likely to act ethically and believe that senior leaders do as well, and have significantly greater comfort levels in approaching a manager with concerns,” said Scott Stevenson, Senior Analyst, Data and Services, Ethisphere. “In contrast, those employees whose managers never discussed ethics and compliance-related topics were less positive about senior leadership, and less personally committed to doing business the right way.”

The report also offers guidance on how to effectively equip managers to support their ongoing role in promoting a speak-up culture. It covers manager-specific training and provides an overview of the approaches of leading companies that are members of Ethisphere’s Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA).

The Culture Quotient Survey

Volume two of this report examines the data set extracted from responses provided by multinational companies, encompassing more than 500,000 employees around the globe, in 30 languages, representing the views of well over four million employees. From this category-leading compilation of current employee responses, Ethisphere has culled insights to share over the course of three volumes. The Eight Pillars of ethical culture that Ethisphere measures are:

  • Awareness of Program and Resources
  • Perceptions of the Function
  • Observing and Reporting Misconduct
  • Pressure
  • Organizational Justice
  • Manager Perceptions
  • Perceptions of Leadership
  • Perceptions of 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.

“A standalone ethical culture survey offers companies the ability to really understand whether ethics and compliance programs are effective, and also identify areas where the culture is strong and where it can be improved,” Byrne said.

The new Ethical Culture Report can be downloaded at Ethisphere also offers a range of related resources including additional data, an infographic, business case slides, and more. These resources can be found at

All Ethisphere research, content, and expertise, such as a recent special report about digital innovation, can be found on the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) member hub, which is made available to global members of BELA. To request guest access, please contact Executive Vice President Jonathan Whitacre at [email protected].

About Ethisphere 

The Ethisphere® Institute 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, benchmarking, and guidance. More information about Ethisphere can be found at​


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