Pressure on acting unethically is increasing
in spite of more stress on business ethics, a Chartered Global
Management Accountants (CGMA) survey found.
Managing Responsible Business found
the gap between reality and rhetoric on business ethics is
widening. The are fewer calls from managers to foster ethical
behaviour among financial professionals, especially in emerging
The survey of nearly 2,000 CGMAs in 80
countries found the number of organisations providing a code of
ethics went up to 80% from 72% in 2008.
However, only 36 percent collect ethics
information, such as the number of employees attending ethics
training and actions taken on hotline reports.
Since ethical performance can only be managed
with the right information, this suggests ethical practice falls
short of stated policy.
The study also showed fewer business leaders
are reviewing and monitoring ethics information. In 2008, 86% of
senior management and 68% of boards reviewed ethics information
compared to 78% and 56% this year.
More than a third of those surveyed said they
‘sometimes or always’ feel pressured to compromise their
organisation’s standards of ethical conduct. The pressure is most
pronounced in developing economies such as Malaysia and India, and
lowest in the UK and US.
“Management accountants play a critical role
in linking the objectives of the organisation across the whole
business and are therefore well-placed to constructively challenge
how things are done and offer an objective view,” CIMA chief
executive Charles Tilley said.