U02-Ethical Behavior Needs to be standardized

In the United States there are roughly 120 million people going to work each day. In 2015 a survey conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Ethics Resource Center found that nearly half of those 120 million people had personally witnessed a form of ethical misconduct (Schwartz,2015). This is a staggeringly high number in my opinion ad raise some questions such as; what are people doing?, Why are they doing unethical things in their work place? and lastly are they being reported?

The top 5 ethical misconducts identified by Arthur Schwartz’s Article in the work place are:

Misusing company time, this could be something as simple as showing up late and not changing the time card to reflect the tardy. Misusing time could be an employee is making personal phone calls to help them potentially make a deal outside of the business on company time as well.

Abusive Behavior, or mangers misuse of power. using their position of authority the manger mistreat or disrespect their employees and can cause mistrust and anguish amongst employees.

Employee theft is a big one. One out of every 40 employees in 2012 where caught stealing from their employer (Schwartz,2015). Employees steal on average $586 more then a shoplifter, and employee theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States according to the FBI. Some forms of theft are taking home items from work, manipulating timecards, tampering with checks, etc…

Lying to employees, employers lie to their employees on a regular basis. This causes a massive distrust between the management and the employees one in every 5 employees reported their supervisor had lied to them (Schwartz).

Violating company internet policies is our last ethical misconduct. Cyberslackers is a huge problem for companies and is costing US companies millions in lost time. employees are surfing the web or playing on the computers when they should be working.  A survey conducted recently by Salary.com found that everyday at least 64 percent of employees visit websites that have nothing to do with their work.

So now we know what employees are doing that are unethical and that others are witnessing. Its time to look at are employees stepping up and saying something or reporting this unethical behavior. Out of the 60 million employees that reported seeing unethical behavior only 50 percent of them reported this to management (Shreve, 2005). Most of this is because employees are afraid of the lash back from “tattling”, as well as a feeling that it is not significant or that their effort is not going to change anything.

I feel that if companies were to adopt the APA ethical code that some of these ethical situation will be limited. The APA code was designed for Psychologist to hold them to a high ethical standard. The code speaks on benefiting others, avoid hurting others, building trust, fulfilling obligations, work truthful, work fair, and respect other peoples rights and dignity (PSU, 2018). Why shouldn’t companies want to hold their employees to the same standards. These standards are good for all parties and look out of the best interest in people and the companies. Each company could set up a committee that would take the reports and investigate the accused based on the ethical standards that are laid out in the APA code. This code would give employers clean guidelines, and more strict guidelines to hold their employees accountable for their actions. Most companies have some form of ethical code but I feel using a highly regarded code could save companies millions in lost time or stolen property. I also believe that creating a comfortable atmosphere to report misconducts is important. building trust among employees and employers is huge and would go along way.  let standardize being good ethical employees and employers.


PSU,PSY 533 (2018). L05: APA Ethics Code.  Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1896721/modules

Schwartz, Arthur. (2015) Jan. 26,The 5 most common unethical behaviors in the workplace. Philadelphia Business Journal retrieved from: https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/guest-comment/2015/01/most-common-unethical-behaviors-in-the.html

Shreve, Meg (2005) Oct. 14, Many ethics violations go unreported. Market Watch retrieved from: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/correct-many-ethics-violations-go-unreported


  1. Christopher Bennett February 25, 2018 at 9:28 PM #

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I agree that there is an ethics crisis in our nation. Thinking of codes that could be applied to all, I believe that the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists has some elements that would be very beneficial in creating a universal code of ethics (CPA, 2000). The reason being is that they contain four principles that are listed in order of weight. The first one is the highest priority, and the second, is second highest priority, and so on.
    The four principles, in order of priority are respect and dignity for the dignity of persons and peoples, responsible caring, integrity in relationships, and responsibility to society. If everyone’s decisions went through these principles, the world would have much less unethical decisions. I would not say this list of principles is perfect and should be immediately applied to all, but I do think that bringing people from multiple disciplines to create a code that contained similar principles listed by weight or priority could help many live more ethical lives.


    Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/committees/ethics/codeofethics/

  2. Vidar Guerrero February 25, 2018 at 7:35 AM #


    I am going to debate part of your solution. I am with you on standardization, but the disagreement comes when we think that implementing certain codes will solve unethical practices completely. Although, I do believe that adopting certain codes of ethics will allow better opportunities for people to make ethically sound decisions. I am hesitant to believe that it will solve the root problem of unethical behavior. My evidence would be the people that have been publicly shamed by their unethical behavior that worked in organizations that had a high regard to ethical practices. Time and time again we have seen Generals in the military, politicians in public office, CEOs, school teachers, police officers and even Presidents of the United States fall from glory because of their unethical behavior. The one thing they all have in common is that ethical codes and practices are part of their organizations, but they still decided on the unethical choice in various situations. I am saying that implementing ethical codes is a good practice, but I am not convinced that it will make a dramatic change in unethical behavior. It is definitely step in the right direction and all organizations should adopt some form of ethical code of conduct, but taking additional steps must also be considered to see additional results in ethical behavior.

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