Fostering Ethical Conduct Through Psychological Safety

How do organizations encourage people to speak up about ethical breaches, whether inadvertent or deliberate? Why do some employees choose to remain silent when others report misconduct? In a world of increased scrutiny for corporations of all types, it is more essential than ever that when misconduct happens or difficult problems arise, there is a strong ethical climate for surfacing information so that leaders can respond quickly and appropriately. An environment in which employees feel comfortable reporting such issues is also vital to preventing future misconduct. As part of an unprecedented global study on workplace ethics, we analyzed the perceptions of those who report misconduct against those of “silent bystanders.” This helped us better understand both the drivers and derailers of speaking up — and revealed insights into how leaders and compliance officers can encourage employees to make such reports. 

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