Kirk Hanson, business-ethics professor in Silicon Valley, reported in the WSJ on the decades he has spent talking to entrepreneurs who live under constant pressure to manipulate their financial accounts and otherwise engage in unethical behavior. One of the greatest temptations, as surfaced in the recent class action settlement against LinkedIn, is to monetize the data the company promises to keep confidential, stretching the meaning of customer agreements and privacy policies. But except for a few bad apples, the Ethics Resource Center survey shows a return to principled values since the lows of the Global Financial Crisis. Surveying the employees who often know best what is really happening in a small company (defined as under 24 workers) the results give us another reason to be thankful this week. 75% of employees believe their top management is committed to ethics and ethical conduct. Supervisors also got high marks of 72%, and they often are under even greater pressure to succeed at any cost. All the data collection, reporting and resulting transparency may actually be tipping the scales.
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