Skip to main content
  • Home
  • Industry insights
  • UK SMEs are ‘ethical workplaces’ despite corrosive impact of overly competitive cultures

UK SMEs are ‘ethical workplaces’ despite corrosive impact of overly competitive cultures

The latest research* from Close Brothers Asset Finance has thrown up a number of contrasting views about what an ‘ethical workplace’ is and the effects of an overly competitive workplace on employees’ moral code.

  • 80% of business owners believe their place of work is ethical    
  • 43% admit it’s commonplace for people to take credit for others’ work
  • 58% feel an overly competitive work culture erodes employees’ ethics

Our data shows that business owners overwhelmingly believe their place of work is ‘ethical’ and is one that obeys the law, respects employees, is professional and promotes transparency and trust.

In addition, two thirds of respondents feel there is a culture of accountability without fear of repercussion at their workplace, and unsurprisingly, 71% agree with this statement ‘business leaders at my workplace promote an ethical workplace’.

On the other side of the debate, more than 4 in every 10 admit that it is commonplace for people to take credit for others’ work at their business; in London, this rises to 61%. In 55% of cases, people believe doing this is a form of theft.

Furthermore, our data shows that 58% of respondents believe an overly competitive work culture erodes employees’ ethics.

“What defines an ‘ethical workplace’ is difficult to pin down but for us it is somewhere people are good to each other; feel their views are listened to and acted on, and where a culture of fear doesn’t exist,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing“You don’t need the data to tell you that most people would prefer to work somewhere that is ethical, because for many this translates as ‘fair’.

“It’s interesting that business owners feel their workplace is ethical despite the prevalence of people taking credit for others’ work, which for some amounts to theft and could potentially be the cause and source of conflict in the workplace because it’s seen to be unfair.”

 

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Kantar survey conducted in January 2020. The survey canvassed the opinion of over 900 SME owners across the UK and Ireland and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses.