The 2011 National Business Ethics Survey, Workplace Ethics in Transition, issued by the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) reports the following results:
The percentage of employees who witnessed misconduct at work fell to a new low of 45 percent, compared to 49 percent in 2009 and well below the record high of 55 percent in 2007.
Those who reported bad behavior reached a record high of 65 percent, up from 64 percent in 2009 and the record low of 53 percent in 2005.
Retaliation against whistleblowers rose with 22 percent who reported misconduct saying they experienced some form of retaliation compared to 15 percent in 2009 and 12 percent in 2007.
The percentage of employees who perceived pressure to compromise standards in order to do their jobs climbed five points to 13 percent, just shy of the all-time high of 14 percent in 2000.
These results show a declining rate of instances of misconduct in workplace behavior, and increase in reporting it, and increase in retaliation against whistleblowers, and an increase in pressure to compromise standards. How should we interpret these somewhat contradictory findings with respect to corporate culture and ethics in the workplace?