1. Ethical standards yet to improve in India: Survey

Ethical standards yet to improve in India: Survey

Inconsistency and ambiguity in encouraging high ethical standards and insufficient understanding of compliance programmes have increasingly led employees to justify unethical behaviour at workplace, says a report.

By: | New Delhi | Published: June 14, 2017 7:07 PM
Ethical standards, APAC, APAC nations, India, unethical behaviour, Economic Uncertainty or Unethical Conduct, China 15 per cent of people surveyed said that organisations have not taken action against employees for breaching ethical standards or regulations.(Reuters)

Inconsistency and ambiguity in encouraging high ethical standards and insufficient understanding of compliance programmes have increasingly led employees to justify unethical behaviour at workplace, says a report. According to EY’s Asia-Pacific (APAC) Fraud survey, 78 per cent of Indian respondents said that bribery and corrupt practices occur widely. Besides, 57 per cent of respondents said that senior management would ignore unethical behaviour of employees to attain revenue targets. Moreover, one in every five respondents said that breaches related to ethical standards and regulations are not investigated by organisations. Further, 15 per cent of people surveyed said that organisations have not taken action against employees for breaching ethical standards or regulations.

Besides, 58 per cent of respondents are still willing to work for organisations involved in major bribery or fraud case, lower than China (66 per cent) but higher than the average of other APAC nations (49 per cent). “The prevalence of fraud and corrupt practices and gaps in demonstrating principled leadership by senior management can become a hindrance in organisations’ quest to build compliant workplaces and retain talent. “Businesses in emerging economies such as India will need to rethink their approach toward corporate governance, take action against individual misconduct and reinforce commitment to make compliance programmes more visible, resilient and technologically-led,” said Arpinder Singh, Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services at EY India.

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The survey, titled ‘Economic Uncertainty or Unethical Conduct: How Should Over-burdened Compliance Functions Respond?, said that 78 per cent of respondents believe that bribery and corrupt practices occur widely, while 31 per cent of the respondents surveyed said that they would offer cash payments to win or retain business. According to the survey, 71 per cent expressed their unwillingness to use whistle-blowing hotlines and 25 per cent said that there is insufficient protection for whistle- blowers.

Further, 18 per cent of people surveyed said that they have had information or concerns but have withheld them due to internal pressure. However, 44 per cent of respondents said that a report to the organisation’s whistle-blowing hotline would be followed up. The survey was conducted between November and February among 1,698 employees of multinational corporations and domestic companies in 14 APAC territories — India, mainland China, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

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