Sunday, February 02,
2020 / 09:57AM / By William O'Connor,
Research Assistant, IBE, W.OConnor@ibe.org.uk
/ Header Image Credit: Google
This briefing provides an overview of the ethical concerns and lapses that were recorded by the IBE in its monitoring of media coverage in 2019. It gives an overview of which sectors and issues related to business ethics were most covered in the news. For 2019, we have recorded a total of 361 different stories involving lapses of companies with a UK presence.
While this briefing does not give detailed information about the severity of ethical lapses in the business community, it does provide an indication about the sectors which were most cited, and the nature and frequency of the ethical issues concerned. Figures 1 and 2 summarise the main findings. The vast majority of the news stories recorded focus on negative corporate behaviour, and these stories form the basis of this briefing.
However, as some good news stories about businesses' handling of ethical issues do occur, a short section at the end of the briefing will offer more information about the positive stories that were recorded.
In 2019, the highest number of ethical lapses was recorded in the banking and finance sector (65 stories), followed by the technology sector (59 stories), and the support & professional services sector (33 stories). Collectively, these three sectors account for 43.4% of the total number of headlines.
Irrespective of sector, the biggest issues of concern in 2019 were those relating to behaviour and culture (47 stories), diversity and discrimination (46 stories) and treatment of employees (39 stories). Collectively, more than a third (36.5%) of the total number of ethical lapses recorded were related to these issues. See Figure 2 for more data on the number of lapses categorised by issue area.
About the Author
William O'Connor is a Research Assistant at the IBE, a contributor to a wide range of research projects and publications, carries out advisory work for supporter and non-supporter organisations, and assists in the delivery of events and training. He joined the IBE in October 2019 as an intern after concluding studies for an MA in Corruption and Governance at Sussex University. After 3 weeks as an intern, he became a permanent member of staff at the Institute. He can be reached via W.OConnor@ibe.org.uk
The post Business Ethics in the News 2019 first appeared in The Institute of Business Ethics UK on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
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