Almost a million UK managers are working in a way they feel is unethical to get ahead in the workplace, research shows.

The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Chartered Management Institute, reveals that 60.1% of workers say they have witnessed colleagues acting unethically to get ahead at work, with managers more likely to be spotted doing so than junior staff (60.6% compared to 26.4%).

Similarly, managers are more likely than other workers to mislead people at work with 35.4% bending the truth once a day or more, compared to 25.3% of other staff.

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, says: ‘When it comes to integrity, leading by example is key so managers need to re-focus on principles, not personal gain. We’ve seen company after company fall foul of ethical scandals and the costs can be huge – not only financially, but in the damage that’s done to hard-won reputations. It’s time for employers to step up and confront unethical behaviour and commit to developing management cultures where strong ethics are rewarded.’

With managers failing to set a positive example, the results also show that workers are confused about where to turn for guidance. Just 17% say they’re aware their company has a values statement and they know what is in it, 21% don’t know if a values statement exists, and, for 24%, there is no formal values guidance in place. More positively, 40.3% of employees believe setting ethical standards at work is the responsibility of every employee, rather than just up to managers or the CEO.

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