Managing responsible business - a global survey on business ethics- C
Skip to main content

Managing responsible business – a global survey on business ethics 

March 07 2013
Topics: Ethics

This CGMA survey report explores the importance placed on business ethics, ethical performance and ethical management within organisations, and the specific role played and challenges faced by individual CGMA designation holders.

The survey findings show that there are pressure points and ethical gaps within organisations and highlights the role management accountants can take. It is a follow up to a CIMA and Institute of Business Ethics survey from 2008. Responses from nearly 2000 finance professionals in over 80 markets were received.

The key findings include:

Business challenge 1 - Ethical Culture

  • A 10% -15% increase in organisations providing both statements of ethical values and a code of ethics as well as related training, provision of hotlines and incentives such as performance based rewards.
  • Corporate leadership appears to be less actively engaged in reviewing and taking responsibility for ethical performance compared to 2008. A weakened ‘tone from the top’ has potentially serious implications for the overall ethical operating culture of an organisation.

Business challenge 2 -Accounting for ethics

  • Almost 20% increase in organisations both collecting (35%) and reporting (39%) ethical information.
  • The majority of management accountants (62%) feel it is important to collect and analyse ethical information, but one in five do not believe their organisation will do so in the near future.

Business challenge 3 - Ethical dilemmas and pressures

  • Despite an increase in ethical codes and training, there is greater pressure within organisations to act unethically. Pressures are most apparent in emerging economies.
  • The majority of those who observe unethical conduct report it.

Business challenge 4 - Business Issues

  • Security of information remains the greatest issues of concern across all markets.
  • Bribery has risen from 6th to 3rd in the rankings of issues of concern, reflecting the intensifying of anti-bribery and corruption legislation.
  • Fewer now believe that business has a moral imperative to help address global issues with a decline from 84% to 77% since 2008.

Ethics Report
Download the report

Executive Summary
Download the report


Nazik Roufaiel

The issue is not having ethics manual, ethics committee or rules or even regulation and acts, the issue is the compliance and sentence in case on wrongdoing or none compliance.  Look at the magnitude of fraud in healthcare industry, the perpetrator goes around after paying the fine, and comes around with a different name doing the same!!!!  Bribery, then how it would be measured on a global scale which has different interpretation ? how about entry level employees witnessing the advancement of top management through theft, corruption, misrepresentation, just name it.. Those who are holding the wealth and the growth? then we ask them to be honest and behave unethically while they are witnessing otherwise? Even at the political scene, where is ethics?

We teach our students in class all about ethics but what they see and read is different!!! That is very sad.

Jun 28, 2012 10:27 AM
Iftekhar Hossain

I appreciate AICPA''s anf CGMA''a approach to ethics. I have no confirmation that any other accounting or similar institute so effectively applied this.

Ethics is the line where human being is devided into human being and all other living things. We as a human being, developed this for millions of years. Without this we are anything but not human being.

Jun 27, 2012 7:20 PM
Tanya Barman

Peter - I agree.  Leadership has a key role to play and one often hears how out of touch so called leaders may be  from the day to day of the business.  Sadly, there are times when senior executives may act with short term self-interest opposed to the long term view of the organisaiton.  Ego and vanity have a key negative role here and my understanding is such individuals often have something lacking and may be quite insecure.  Dangerous characters to be driving a business.  It may be in the coming years, with a rise in public protest, such individuals will be brought to account.  Time will reveal the truth. As you say - its only the last 25 years they have held such power.   CGMA''s new report  The Invisible Elephant and the Pyramid Treasure explores such leadership in more detail.  We can live in hope!

Jun 13, 2012 3:32 AM

I have been promoting business ethics for 35 years and know the difference between walking the talk and just talking is found in the checks and balances implemented in the organization.  I am sorry, but the phrase, "trust in God, all else we audit" summarizes my experiences.  

We need to remove the temptation or opportunity to cheat: nothing else works as well.  Unfortunately, many major companies while claiming to have a "tone at the top" are really ''tone deaf."  How else can one explain the average CEO making 400 times the average wage for the organization?  Keep in mind 25 years ago the ratio was 40!!  Hard to "sell" the value of  ethics to the troups when all they sell is the top position pillaging the village.  

The whole sense is the "double talk" described in the novel 1984.

Jun 7, 2012 10:03 AM
Showing 4 of 4 comments   
You must be a CGMA Designation Holder to comment
Login now


Managing Responsible Business

Stay connected with CGMA

  • Facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • Google plus
  • You tube