Some useful resources to support the case that making ethical decisions makes good business sense.

Ethics in the Boardroom – A guide to decision making

In partnership with The Ethics Centre, the Australian Institute of Company Directors have put together a guide to making ethical decisions in the boardroom.

The role of a director in governing an organisation is made more complex by myriad ethical issues that impact on board decision-making. Boardroom practices are also central to setting the right tone and values throughout an organisation.

This guide is designed to support directors in considering ethical issues when carrying out their duties.

Longitudinal Patterns of Ethical Organisational Culture as a Context for Leaders’ Well-Being: Cumulative Effects Over 6 Years

The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the temporal dynamics of ethical organisational culture and how it associates with well-being at work when potential changes in ethical culture are measured over an extended period of 6 years.

The authors used a person-centred study design, which allowed them to detect both typical and atypical patterns of ethical culture stability as well as change among a sample of leaders. Based on latent profile analysis and hierarchical linear modelling they found longitudinal, concurrent relations and cumulative gain and loss cycles between different ethical culture patterns and leaders’ well-being.

Leaders in the strongest ethical culture pattern experienced the highest level of work engagement and a decreasing level of ethical dilemmas and stress. Leaders who gave the lowest ratings on ethical culture which also decreased over time reported the highest level of ethical dilemmas, stress, and burnout. They also showed a continuous increase in these negative outcomes over time. Thus, ethical culture has significant cumulative effects on well-being, and these longitudinal effects can be both negative and positive, depending on the experienced strength of the culture’s ethicality.

Authors: Huhtala, M., Kaptein, M., Muotka, J. et al.

Journal of Business Ethics 177, 421–442 (2022).

The ethical advantage: the economic and social benefits of ethics to Australia

Turning around the loss of trust in government, corporations and institutions could deliver Australians significant economic and social dividends.  The Ethical Advantage’s exclusive new economic modelling by Deloitte Access Economics shows that if our leaders, businesses, institutions and everyday Australians made more ethical decisions, our GDP, wages, corporate returns and mental health would improve.

For the first time, the report quantifies the benefits of ethics for individuals and for the nation. An increase in ethical behaviour could raise Australians’ average income by $1,800 a year, lifting GDP by $45 billion. An increase in a company’s performance based on ethical perceptions can increase return on assets by about 7%.