Magazine article USA TODAY

Ethics Programs Help Curb Employee Theft. (Workplace)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Ethics Programs Help Curb Employee Theft. (Workplace)

Article excerpt

An Ohio State University, Columbus, study suggests that nearly any worker may be willing to steal from an employer under some circumstances--unless-the firm makes it clear that theft is unethical. Many employees ranked at a normal level of morel development for adults--suggesting they generally felt a duty to follow societal rules---were willing to steal, but only if their office didn't have an employee ethics program. Workers who were at a lower level of morel development stole from the company regardless of whether there was an ethics program or not, according to Jerald Greenberg, professor of management and human resources.

However, nearly no employees were willing to steal if they thought the money came from the pockets of their managers, and not the company. The study results suggest that ethics programs can help prevent employee theft, but only among workers already predisposed to honesty.

"An ethics program generally has the most impact on employees who were the least likely to steal in the first place," Greenberg indicates. …

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