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Organisational leaders have further work to do in cascading ethical standards throughout the business
When I was a child, I thought like a child; seeing only the world as it related to me. But the world moves on, and people grow up; in the process learning about the interconnectedness of things and the way in which the actions of one individual can have ramifications in many other areas.
The creation of a global marketplace has had, and is having, a similar effect on the world of business. When my customer, my supplier, or even my employees can be on the other side the world, when my actions are readily visible on social media, when global reporting means that I can no longer be unaware of global consequences; it’s hardly surprising that ‘doing things right’, treating customers fairly, behaving ethically, has gained increasing traction in the business world.
Reflecting this mood, a recent CGMA report revealed that 82% of organisations now have an ethical code, with this figure rising to 93% per month amongst the largest companies. In addition, organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of those within their supply chain having similar ethical policies, with 80% viewing supply chain ethics as having a bearing on their business.
However, there is still some way to go before these ethical standards are fully embedded within organisations. The CGMA report also reveals that in the UK 30% of employees feel under pressure from their managers or colleagues to compromise ethical standards, and sadly this figure has risen from the 18% reported in 2012. Clearly this reveals that organisational leaders have further work to do in cascading ethical standards throughout the business. It is only when the corporate ambition is fully reflected within the corporate culture that organisations will be truly able to say that they have come of age.