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Global Business Ethics Survey®

New 2020 report just released.

Pressure in the Workplace: Possible Risk Factors and Those at Risk

Cutting-edge data and insight into workplace behavior and integrity.

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GBES is a look into the trends and cultural shifts affecting the workplace.

Over the years, Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) research has found that the pressure employees may experience to compromise their organization's ethics standards, policies, or the law is linked with an increased likelihood to observe misconduct. The GBES is a rigorous, global study into workplace behavior that uncovers new insights, cultural shifts, trends and risk factors that affect ethics and compliance programs of all sizes.

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What is the Purpose of the GBES?

GBES 2019 will fulfill six primary goals. First, this survey will gather baseline HQP data for all 18 of the existing GBES countries. ECI conducted the first GBES in 2016, prior to the creation of the HQP framework, and therefore this survey will serve as ECI’s first opportunity to understand the global ethical climate through the lens of the HQP. Second, this survey will assess the role of organizational values in the workplace. ECI will gather data on the extent to which companies use values to guide employee behavior, as well as which values companies reward. Third, ECI will continue to build upon its existing research into the relationships between supervisors and their direct reports. In this section, ECI will focus on measuring leadership styles.

GBES 2020 data coming soon!

Fourth, ECI will ask employees to assess the extent to which they, along with their supervisors and coworkers, are responsible for reporting misconduct or raising concerns. This section will also examine what type of behavior employees expect within their workplace, principally as it relates to reporting misconduct and experiencing retaliation. Fifth, ECI will ask its traditional outcomes questions with a focus on the three most common types of misconduct. Sixth, ECI will build upon its research into misconduct by asking employees whether they think particular workplace behaviors are common within their workplace and whether or not they are appropriate.

In brief, the purpose of the 2019 GBES is:

  • To collect updated, global benchmark data for use in ECI’s employee, ethics & compliance assessments of organizations (employee surveys). ECI conducts employee surveys for organizations and provides comparisons of the organization’s results against the benchmarks.
  • To collect trend data on key GBES metrics, such as pressure and reported misconduct.
  • To inform the E&C profession, and others, of the state of ethics & compliance by analyzing the data and reporting out findings on trends and other areas of interest. ECI releases findings in GBES research reports as well as in EthicsStats® (ethics.org/EthicsStat/), webinars, conference presentations and ECI’s website (www.ethics.org/gbes/).
  • The GBES surveys a sample of employees in a country’s workforce via online panels. Participants are drawn from the broader workforce, not from individual organizations, per se. That is, the GBES is not a survey of companies, but a survey of a representative sample of individuals who work in those countries.
  • Participants will be screened to meet the following criteria. Participants must:
    • Be 18 years of age or older
    • Work at least 20 hours per week for a single employer
    • Be in organizations that employ at least two people
  • ECI develops the question set and selects a vendor to administer the survey.
  • The vendor is selected based on their qualifications, skills and abilities. The selected vendor must, for example:
    • Maintain and have access to large robust panels of workers from which a mix of respondents that are representative of the demographic composition of the country’s workforce can be drawn. Defining demographics include, for example, gender and age;
    • Be able to conduct surveys in the chosen countries, including being able to provide translation services;
    • Have a reputation for providing quality data and for maintaining data security; and
    • Provide excellent and timely services at a reasonable cost.
  • Starting in 2020 the GBES will run every year:
    • Even years will be benchmarking years and ask essentially the same survey each time in order for ECI to collect trend data across the globe.
    • Odd years will be "special topics". Special topics are important topics/conversation of concern in the field of E&C. These topics are discussed during Fellows meetings and potentially a task force created during even years.
  • GBES 2020 coming soon!
  • The first iteration of an ethics survey by ECI was in 1994 and the second ethics survey was trademarked as the National Business Ethics SurveyTM (NBESTM) and started in the year 2000. From the year 2000 to 2013, ECI has conducted a standalone survey exclusively in the U.S. approximately every other year.
  • The first iteration of the GBES was in 2015/2017
    • In 2015 ECI collected 1,000 responses from each of 12 countries.
    • In 2017 ECI added 5 countries (1,000 responses each) to make the 18 countries that were surveyed in 2017 and 2019.

ECI is able to bring you the GBES due to the generous support of our funders.  Organizations know that by aligning with a non-profit with our long history of research and thought leadership into workplace integrity, they can demonstrate their commitment to corporate ethics to the public, shareholders and employees.

GBES findings are distributed to E&C leaders worldwide and has become the premier study on workplace behavior and trends affecting organizations.

ECI needs your support to continue this good work. By supporting the GBES, you can participate in research that propels the continued evolution and development of workplace integrity and empower people to make ethical decisions.

Click on the button below to learn more about becoming a GBES funder and joining these prestigious companies:

The Boeing Company, Google, Eli Lilly & Company, Altria Group Inc., BP, General Electric Company (G&E), KPMG, L’Oréal, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Leidos, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), University of Arkansas-Sam M. Walton, College of Business.

Learn More about GBES Corporate Sponsorship
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Countries Participating in the GBES

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What Do We Do with Your Info?

One of the ways that ECI supports ourselves and our mission is through our Ethics and Compliance Initiative Membership. Your contact information will only be used to send you relevant updates, original research and training opportunities that will help you in your career as an E&C professional.

This prevents you and your mailbox from being overloaded with e-mails that aren't useful. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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For ECI Members

Below you'll find not only the link to the most recent GBES report, but also download links to several previously published reports. You'll also find related content: GBES webinars, articles, supplementary reports, and best practices.

You must be logged in to see the members only content below.

About the GBES

In the interlocking global economy of the 21st century, businesses, policymakers, investors, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders need a full picture of ethics in workplaces in a wide range of markets. The Global Business Ethics Survey® (GBES) is a rigorous, multi-country inquiry into worker conduct and workplace integrity, providing insight into workplace ethics in both public and private sector organizations.

GBES is a flagship research project of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI). GBES is the global expansion of the National Business Ethics Survey (NBES), the most comprehensive survey of employees in the US workplaces. Fielded 16 times beginning in 1994, NBES has provided a longitudinal look at ethics trends as well as an independent benchmark of the state of ethics in companies in the United States. Data and findings from NBES have guided numerous organizations in the design and implementation of ethics programs and the development of strong ethics cultures.

Just as NBES illuminated our understanding of workplace ethics in the United States, GBES fills a void in our knowledge of workplaces around the world.  GBES builds on NBES while expanding both the survey population and survey content to make findings relevant to many nations across the globe.

We Asked: "How Has the GBES Helped You and Your Organization?"

Here's what some of our members had to say about how the GBES reports have been able to help their organizations in the past.

"Across business, leaders have the responsibility to develop and support high quality ethics programs to help reduce risk and drive organizational success."

Ellen Martin. VP of Ethics and Business Conduct, The Boeing Company
"These findings provide best practices to balance organizational change while upholding the highest ethical standards.  Leidos is proud to support ECI research, which is helping the member community build and maintain strong ethical cultures."

Leidos funds the GBES

Michele M. Brown, SVP, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and Deputy General Counsel, Leidos

GBES 2020 Funders

Eli Lilly and Company funds the GBES
Altria Group, Inc. funds the GBES
BP funds the GBES
General Electric Company funds the GBES
KPMG International Cooperative funds the GBES
Pacific Gas and Electric Company funds the GBES
Leidos funds the GBES
Sam Walton College of Business funds the GBES
PricewaterhouseCoopers funds the GBES