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Ethics and integrity will always be present in business relationships — the issue is to what degree. Clearly we want more of these values demonstrated so this takes us to the need to discover the drivers.

I can offer one perspective through the lens of the research around employee engagement. Employees demonstrate more ethical behavior in response to what they see in the organization. The more integrity and ethical behavior they see, the more they model themselves. Employees have three views for this:

1) Looking In – How they are treated, how they feel
2) Looking Around – How others around them are treated
3) Looking Out – How the organization treats those outside the company (vendors, community, customers)

So if a CEO wants more integrity and ethical behavior within the organization, it makes sense to focus on these three “views” to see how the company behaves in the eyes of employees.

BEST PRACTICES TIP:  Social exchange theory posits that employees will “give back” to some measure a level and tone of effort that is commensurate to what they receive.

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