Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Global Recession and its Effect on Work Ethics

Today, Michael Krigsman published in his ZDNet's blog , a post called IT ethics and the recession, where he talks about a survey entitled The Global Recession and its Effect on Work Ethics. This survey was conducted by Cyber-Ark Software, a Security firm, and interviewed 600 workers on Wall Street, New York, Docklands, London and Amsterdam, Holland.

He said: "With a major recession in full-swing, someone had to come up with a survey covering the ethics of office workers in three countries. The punch line: a large percentage of folks surveyed would steal confidential company data in the event of layoff rumors. The results are fairly ugly, painting a negative picture of ethics in the workplace."

About the question: How far would you be prepared to go to keep your job?, more than a third of workers across the sample confirmed that they would be prepared to work 80 hours a week to keep their jobs, 25% would be prepared to take a salary cut, and 15 % of Americans chose "Blackmail my boss about his/her indiscretions at the office party".

Michael Krigsman's considerations about the survey are:
- Employers should not underestimate the level of stress the recession causes workers. Treat your folks with respect and dignity and they’re more likely to behave decently back toward you.
- Once workers learn they may be targeted for downsizing, their ethics may erode. Employers should be aware of this and enhance security accordingly.
- A small number of workers are just plain dumb. Threats of blackmail? You’ve gotta be kidding.

You can download the survey in the Cyber-Ark Software's website (registration required).

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