Employees Care about Their Employers’ Impact on Their Quality of Life, the Environment and Society. New Marian University Ethics Research Study Shows Indiana Businesses Have Work to Do to Meet Those Needs.

by News Release | May 03, 2021

Commissioned by the Walker Center for Applied Ethics, the Indiana Ethics Survey: The State of Ethics in the Workplace will inform efforts to improve ethics in Indiana businesses.


The Walker Center for Applied Ethics at Marian University has released its first-ever ethics study – Indiana Ethics Survey: The State of Ethics in the Workplace. The survey was commissioned and funded by the Walker Center through the Ethics Research Center at the Ethics & Compliance Initiative, the nation’s oldest nonprofit in the ethics and compliance industry, and Ipsos International, a global market research organization.

Through the survey, the Walker Center for Applied Ethics hopes to gain an understanding of the current state of ethics culture across Indiana businesses, as perceived by their employees, and will use the survey data as a guide to identify areas of opportunity and need for improvement across Indiana’s business community. The research reveals a strong link between the quality of a company’s ethics culture  and how that culture is influenced by the quality of a company’s ethics and compliance function, which leads to favorable ethics outcomes and higher employee retention rates.

Key overall findings from the survey were:

  • The strength of ethics in Indiana businesses has room for improvement: 56% of Indiana employees indicated their organization has a strong or strong-leaning ethics culture, less than the 60% in the U.S. overall.
  • Indiana’s ethics culture reflects employees’ views of top management, supervisor and co-worker commitment to ethical actions and behaviors: About half (56%) of Indiana employees perceive a strong top management culture, less than the U.S. overall (61%). Sixty-three percent of employees in Indiana view the ethics of their supervisors and co-workers as stronger than top management, just under the U.S. overall (65%).
  • Misconduct is observed by more than half of Indiana employees: Over half of Indiana employees (54%) observed at least one of the 26 specific types of misconduct asked about in the survey, the top three being favoritism toward certain employees; management lying to employees; and abusive, intimidating or hostile behavior.

 “This important research provides us with data on trends in workplace ethics that allow us to focus on the key drivers that improve ethical cultures in the workplace. The Walker Center for Applied Ethics will build on this study to further understand the drivers and differences across various sectors, industries and employee groups and, more importantly, to understand the implications for business performance,” said Elizabeth Coit, Executive Director, Walker Center for Applied Ethics.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of employees in Indiana who observe and report misconduct experience retaliation for reporting. While lower than the U.S. rate (82%), it presents a drastic condition for organizations that find that a large majority of those who report misconduct have a negative experience after speaking up.
  • Fewer Indiana employees perceive pressure to compromise ethical standards (25%), compared with 33% of employees in the U.S.
  • Fourteen percent of Indiana employees who were symptomatic of or diagnosed with COVID-19 did not tell their employer, compared to 9% for the U.S. overall.
  • Twenty-six percent of employees in Indiana who were symptomatic or diagnosed with COVID-19 felt the need to continue to work for fear that they would lose their job, compared to just 9% for the U.S. overall.

The Indiana Ethics Survey: The State of Ethics in the Workplace surveyed 975 employees at all levels within organizations, working in companies of all sizes and in numerous industries. Sixty percent of those surveyed were middle or top management, and 26 percent were first-line direct supervisors or individual contributors. Employees surveyed were from many industries and fields with the top three being education, medical and technology.

Click here to read the full survey.

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Brad R. Wucher
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(317) 955-6307
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