Speak up

By Joseph Grenny via http://blogs.hbr.org/   Article

Research: We Should Speak Up About Ethical Violations More Often

“Whistle-blowing reveals not just acute misdeeds, but chronic and longstanding patterns of misconduct. For example, Edward Snowden’s bombshell release of more than 200,000 documents revealed questionable government surveillance programs that existed for years.  …

the primary predictor of corporate rectitude is creating a culture where employees regularly feel both motivated and able to hold people accountable for garden variety complaints — when they do, our study shows they are six times more likely to blow the whistle on major corporate ethics violations. …

First, small ethical lapses are already happening in your company. Two-thirds of respondents report regularly witnessing either minor or major ethical infractions. … The top three minor ethical violations include: taking credit for someone else’s work, taking extra long breaks, and calling in sick when actually well. A third of respondents reported seeing one of these minor infractions in the last week. But only half of those said they spoke up about the problem.

The biggest problem isn’t the sin, it’s the silence. Even more of us stay silent when the infraction is a major one: an alarming three out of four employees stay mum when they see gross violations. Taking unfair revenge, embezzling significant value, and coercing sexual favors are the most common major infractions observed. And yet organizations rarely go into moral freefall. More often, egregious offenses are the endpoint of a long, unplanned decline. Compromises become conspiracies and peccadillos become policies only when early transgressions are met with silence.”

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