British workers ‘put under pressure’ to act unethically in the office, says ACCA

  • New research reveals a quarter of UK workers have been put under pressure to act unethically at work     
  • Many British workers say their employers are not committed to ethical behaviour
  • Half of British workers turned a blind eye to unethical practices they witnessed at work

New research has revealed a significant number of British workers feel they have been put under pressure to act unethically at work. A study for ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) suggests a quarter of workers say they have done things they believe are unethical. Examples include: talking about a colleague behind their back, misusing the company’s time, lying to hide mistakes, bullying, stealing from work, taking credit for work they did not do, using bias to promote or avoid promoting someone and using a position of power to harass someone.

The survey also found half of British workers have encountered some kind of unethical situation at work, and more than 50 percent thought where they worked was not committed to ethical behaviour. Despite a feeling that ethical behaviour at work is in short supply, employees themselves do not appear to want to do anything about it. Nearly half of people questioned said they would turn a blind eye to unethical acts, if they witnessed them.

ACCA’s global president, Brian McEnery, says:

‘Global Ethics Day is when organisations around the world come together to discuss the importance of moral values in business and international affairs.

‘Ethics needs to be at the heart of company culture and ACCA prides itself on bringing a moral code to the forefront. Ten years ago, we were the only professional body to launch a compulsory ethics module as part of our qualification. The most recent changes to the module will ensure the next generation has the broader skills necessary for shaping the future of business.

‘It’s worrying that more than half of British workers think people in a position of power are more likely to behave dishonestly than others. This is why today we are launching our campaign, calling on businesses to take ethics seriously and set the tone from the top.’

The research shows bosses and leaders come in for particular criticism. A fifth of people questioned said they had witnessed bullying or lying to hide mistakes, and a nearly a quarter said their boss had lied to take credit for work they did not do. Five percent of employees said they had also witnessed sexual harassment.

The new module is an essential part of the ACCA Qualification, which is set to launch on Tuesday 31 October 2017.

Please see the related documents below for the full survey results.

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Notes to Editors

The research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers – RWB

All surveys were conducted between 22 September 2017 and 27 September 2017

The sample comprised 1,108 workers from the UK and Ireland

All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2014)

RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998)

The Carnegie Council is celebrating its fourth annual Global Ethics Day on 18 October 2017

 

For media enquiries, contact:

Chanel Townsend

E: chanel.townsend@accaglobal.com

T: +44 (0)20 7059 5622

M: +44 (0)7834173867
Twitter @ACCANews

 

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

 

"Ethics needs to be at the heart of company culture and ACCA prides itself on bringing a moral code to the forefront. Ten years ago, we were the only professional body to launch a compulsory ethics module as part of our qualification. The most recent changes to the module will ensure the next generation has the broader skills necessary for shaping the future of business."

Brian McEnery - ACCA President