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No industry in America is immune to ethics challenges. In truth,
certain industries are just inherently more “at risk” for facing ethics
issues depending on the kind of work they do. The construction industry
is one such industry, especially given the contexts in which organization conduct business, the safety risks that are inherent to their work, and
the performance pressures they face.
This risk is evident in the feedback provided by employees in the
construction industry, especially when compared to the U.S. national
average. More construction employees indicated that they feel pressure
to compromise standards; they see more misconduct; and when they report
wrongdoing to management, they are far more likely to experience
retaliation for having done so. At the same time, however, the
construction industry set a new standard for Corporate America with
regard to employee reporting.
Employees in the construction industry reported wrongdoing more
frequently than any other group of employees in the 19 year history of
the ECI’s National Business Ethics Survey® research.
Noticeable Efforts Being Made
Despite the challenges facing them, the construction industry has taken
steps to encourage ethical conduct – and their efforts have made a
ECI’s research has shown that, regardless
of the industry, when business leaders take steps to encourage ethical
conduct, positive outcomes result (see page 10). This is certainly true
of the construction industry; when asked about their organization’s efforts
to encourage ethical conduct, more than three out of four employees (80
percent) working in the industry deemed it successful. This is higher
than the U.S. average, where only 70 percent of employees had
such positive impressions.
Several important benefits stood out as a
result of the efforts taken by these organizations to encourage ethical
conduct. A predominance (85 percent) of employees say they consult their
organization code when they need guidance regarding an ethics issue, and
nearly eight in ten (78 percent) feel prepared to address ethics issues
when they arise. Additionally, a similar percentage of employees in the
industry say that their supervisors provide them feedback on their
conduct, and nearly eight in ten say that they can raise concerns to
their managers without fear of retaliation.