State of Business Ethics in the United States [Infographic]

Did you know that 34% of employees think their managers are unethical, and 42% of employees say their companies’ ethics cultures are weak? Those statistics come from the new State of Business Ethics in the U.S. infographic from Bolt Insurance, which is shown below.

According to the data in the infographic, most reports of employee misconduct include more than one “violation.” Misuse of company time ranks in the top spot with 33% of reports citing it, followed by abusive behavior (21%), lying to employees (20%), company resource abuse (20%), and violating company internet use policies (16%), respectively.

A lack of ethical behavior in the workplace is unlikely to end based on the statistics around retaliation against whistle blowers found in the infographic. One in five whistle blowers report that they have faced retaliation, and that number is considerably higher than it was five years ago when it was reported at just over one in 10. Retaliation most frequently comes in the form of being excluded from business decisions or activities by supervisors or managers, followed by being given the cold shoulder by other employees, verbal abuse, nearly losing jobs, and not receiving promotions or pay increases, in that order.

The infographic offers several suggestions to improve business ethics, including:

  • Invest in an ethics program to educate employees.
  • Praise employees’ responses to misconduct.
  • Use social networks to start discussions about ethics issues.
  • Monitor the effect of whistle blower protections on employee reporting patterns.
  • Make ethical leadership part of performance evaluations for managers.

What would you add to that list or change? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

And here is the full infographic for your review.

Business Ethics infographic
Via: BOLT Insurance

Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Women on Business. She is a 20-year veteran of the marketing field and has authored ten books about marketing, branding, and social media, including the highly popular 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing for Dummies, Blogging All-in-One for Dummies and Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. Susan’s marketing-related content can be found on,,,, and more. Susan is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has worked in corporate marketing roles and through client relationships with AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, Intuit, The New York Times, Cox Communications, and many more large and small companies around the world. Susan also speaks about marketing, branding and social media at events around the world and is frequently interviewed by television, online, radio, and print media organizations about these topics. She holds an MBA in Management and Strategy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

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  1. Jim Nico says

    Thank you so much for this important piece. Knowing first hand of unethical and hostile work environments: I suggest:
    1. An ethics program needs to have teeth with rewards for reporting unethical and illegal matters.
    2. Use of social networks should be a viral leverage point to help deal with ethics and legal issues
    3. Whistle Blower protections, in order to be effective must at minimum:
    a. Not allow any visible change in whistle blower duties which imply or signal employee is a whistle blower.
    b. Limit knowledge about reports to need to know basis.
    c. Offer immediate penalty’s for anyone who ostracizes whistle blower.
    d. Offer safe haven if whistle blower protections break down including adequate time away from work with full pay and benefits
    e. Increase liability for companies who allow hostile work environments, sexual harassment, unethical or illegal behavior
    f. Do not allow any extra work, scrutiny, supervision, quality assurance protocols, observation, or quality assurance expectations for whistle blower.
    g.Keep time and resources focused on the report not the reporter.
    h.Keep whistle blower apprised of status of report to reduce anxiety

  2. Sossity Nico says

    The list above, stating areas of protection for whistleblowers is extremely thorough and I feel appropriately addresses detailed situations where I feel many whistleblowers are left to fend for themselves unfairly. The information confidentially shared as a whistleblower is 99% if not 100% beneficial to the company and is creating an intense scenario of vulnerability and uncertainty for the person sharing the information, they should be fully protected, checked in on, and commended for their courage. Instead I see an environment of uncertainty and neglect, and retaliation on many levels.