South-Western - Management  
Strong Relationship Between Work-Life Balance and Ethical Behavior
Topic Ethics and Social Responsibility
Key Words Ethics, ethics training, ethical cultures
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News Story

The “2007 Deloitte and Touche USA LLP Ethics and Workplace” survey reports that the behaviors of management and direct supervisors, combined with positive reinforcement for ethical behavior, are the top factors for promoting ethical behavior in the workplace. Work-life balance is also shown as having a high correlation with positive ethical behaviors at work.

The survey findings show that it is imperative that employers provide employees with the means to attain a healthy work-life balance. This balance is not only key to job satisfaction and employee retention, but is also critical in fostering an ethical workplace culture.

According to the survey, 91% of all employed adults agreed that workers are more likely to behave ethically at work when they have a good work-life balance. 60% of employed adults think that job dissatisfaction is a key reason employees make unethical decisions at work, and more than half of those surveyed ranked a flexible schedule among the top three factors leading to job satisfaction, second only to compensation.

The survey also showed that management and supervisors have a tremendous impact on the ethical behavior of those who work for them. The behavior of management and supervisors were ranked as the top two factors contributing to the promotion of an ethical workplace.

It is interesting that the survey showed that the respondents believe that the reinforcement of criminal penalties and ethics training may do very little to deter unethical behavior at work.

The findings of the survey show that corporate leaders have a duty to build a culture that thrives on high ethical standards and makes corporate and social responsibility a top priority. Management needs to practice the values they preach if they want to sustain a culture of ethics.

Questions
1.

In what ways does providing employees with the means to attain a positive work-life balance contribute to ethical behavior in the workplace?

2.

Many other articles about ethics at work stress that companies need to establish ethics guidelines and training, as well as penalties for unethical behavior if they want to stop it from occurring. What does this article say about these approaches and what is the most important thing companies need to do in order to establish an ethical culture in the workplace?

3.

Give at least three examples of workplace deviance. In what ways can a caring and ethical management staff cut down on these instances of workplace deviance?

Source “Deloitte & Touche USA Survey Finds Strong Relationship Between Work-Life Balance and Ethical Behavior,” PR Newswire, April 17, 2007, pNA.
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