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Executive summary

Today’s businesses are operating in an uncertain economic environment. Popular discontent with globalization, political instability and slower growth in emerging markets is placing pressure on companies as they seek alternative ways to meet ambitious revenue targets.

Restoring confidence through enforcement

Bribery and corruption remains a challenge and business conduct is under greater scrutiny from both regulators and the public than ever before. The majority of our respondents support the strong stance taken by regulators, particularly respondents in emerging markets.

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Are your employees making ethical choices?

The results of our survey indicate that unethical behavior and high levels of mistrust among colleagues are key characteristics of today’s workforce, particularly among executives, but also among younger generations.

Generation Y are the future leaders of our businesses. Unless action is taken now to set high ethical standards and address conduct at all levels of organizations, unethical conduct could increase in the future.

To bridge this gap, management needs to ensure that employees understand the value of harnessing such data and the potential implications for the business if company data is leaked or stolen.

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Monitoring data to understand employee behaviors

Increased global connectivity means that a company’s assets are at greater risk from theft, damage or manipulation by insiders than ever before. With regulators placing pressure on companies to self-report instances of misconduct, companies need to harness new technologies to identify and mitigate internal threats to the business. Such insider threats can be difficult to detect without gathering and analysing data from a wide range of sources, including email communication or building access logs. While 75% of respondents to our survey believed that companies should monitor this data, 89% considered it to be a violation of their privacy.

To bridge this gap, management needs to ensure that employees understand the value of harnessing such data and the potential implications for the business if company data is leaked or stolen.


Whistleblowing – why confidence is an important factor

Our survey finds that when our respondents are concerned about misconduct, they are either hesitant to, or do not know how to blow the whistle. When employees are willing to report, a significant majority are prepared to report outside of the business to regulators, law enforcement or the media. For companies, the process of then appropriately managing the situation becomes more complicated.

52% of respondents have had information or concerns about misconduct in their company.


  • Respondents with concerns
  • Respondents with no concerns

  • Almost half of those who have had concerns about unethical conduct have faced pressure to withhold information
  • 30% would not report information due to loyalty to their colleagues
  • 51% would not report due to concern over their future career
  • 73% would consider providing information to a third-party, such as a regulator or law enforcement agency

What does this mean for companies?

To respond to these challenges, companies need to go beyond minimum compliance requirements and develop programs that motivate all of their employees to do the right thing, recognizing and addressing potential disconnects between different generations. This includes establishing a training and awareness program that encourages those employees with concerns over unethical conduct to come forward. This should be reinforced by an effective risk management process that utilizes technology and machine logic to identify and mitigate external threats, such as those posed by potential business relationships or from cyber attacks.

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