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Derek Bishop

Director

A crisis of trust

Date added: 09th Feb 2015
Category: Organisational Culture Change

75% think that big business put profits before ethics - FPB survey creating a 'crisis of trust' for the UK's big businesses

If the results of a survey by the Forum of Private Business are anything to go by then the UK’s largest businesses have some way to go if they are to convince the general public that they have moved on from the excesses of the past.  The survey, conducted as part of the FPB’s Business Ethics Pledge revealed that 74% of those surveyed think that big business has no concern for the small business owners within the UK and that over 75% think that big business put profits before ethics.

Late payment of suppliers, supply chain abuse, tax avoidance and high street domination all came in for criticism leading FPB Chief Executive Phil Orford to comment that “The view of the British public is clear: we are facing a crisis of trust in big business.”

That businesses are taking steps to change their practices and outlook is undeniable.  Indeed, writing in City A.M. at the weekend Phil Orford praised Tesco for launching an online network for its suppliers but there is still more to be done before perception and actuality match rhetoric.  In part the regulatory bodies are leading the way.  For example, the Financial Reporting Council has recently announced that establishing good culture will be one of its priorities in 2015 with its guidance on risk management highlighting “the need for boards to think hard about how they can better assess whether the culture practised within the company is the same as that which they espouse, particularly under pressure.”

But no matter how much pressure is put on from outside, unless and until organisations undertake a complete cultural realignment and seek to deliver profit through people and purpose rather than through exploitation the ‘crisis of trust’ which is besetting the UK’s larger businesses will remain.

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