Scandals involving workplace harassment and poor treatment of workers have highlighted what can happen when ethics aren’t integral to the way an organisation operates. Having unique access to staff and opportunities to influence an organisation’s strategy and the way it manages its workforce; people professionals are uniquely placed within an organisation. They can support the embedding of principled decision-making into daily practice. Ethics are at the heart of professionalism. To create cultures of transparency and trust, practitioners should demonstrate strong standards of integrity when advising business leaders.

This factsheet explores what ethical practice means and why it matters in an organisational context. It outlines the trade-offs involved in upholding ethical values and the challenges faced by people professionals. Finally, it looks at the profession’s role in creating ethical organisational cultures.

This factsheet was last updated by Amy Bosley, Research Adviser, CIPD

Amy’s research focuses on organisational design and development and changing people functions and operating models. Before her research career, Amy worked as an HR practitioner during which time she earned a master’s degree in Human Resource Management. 

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