Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Poor Work Ethics Risk Future of U.S. Business, Education and Ultimately Freedom

With all of the political campaigning, a report released this fall by the Josephson Institute received very little attention and unfortunately should have been both front page news and the lead story for every major media outlet. This annual report of over 36,000 students revealed poor work ethics where 60% of American high school students in order to improve their performance cheated on a test with 28% said that they stole from a store.
What is even more incredible is the disconnect between these students' behaviors and their personal beliefs. Ninety-two percent of these students believed that their personal characters were satisfactory with a whopping 74% agreeing to the statement: "When it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know." From the sound of these findings, no wonder we have politicians who believe that their misleading to false ads are O.K. and that they did nothing wrong.
The results of this survey confirmed earlier surveys. In 2005, Donald McCabe at Rutgers University published a survey where more than 70% of students admitted to cheating at least once on a test. Cheating is not just reserved for highs school students. McCabe also surveyed graduate students and discovered cheating attitudes for:
  • 56% of business students
  • 54% of engineering students
  • 48% of education students
  • 45% of law school students
The ramifications from this research are far reaching. For example, business ethics has been the talk of many with the Enron executives and various other business executives being indicted. With over 1 out of 2 believing that cheating is OK, can this be part of the reason? Capitalism does not make people unethical. People are unethical before they enter the business marketplace.
In education, more and more is written about how parents are responsible for the conduct of their children. Yet, when almost 1 out of every 2 teachers cheated at some time indicates that the issue of work ethics or what I call attitudes of performance is just as much about teachers as the parents.
And in our society where many of the laws are written by lawyers who have been elected to office, is it a wonder that there is an attitude of going around the law when almost 1 out of 2 have an acceptable attitude about cheating?
Ethics is critical to any society not only surviving, but thriving. These surveys indicate that the U.S. business, education and future are at risk. When young people to adult U.S. citizens can hear and see their leadership including:
  • U.S. President who said: "I didn't have sex with that woman"
  • U.S. Senator who said that his lawyers approved a report for a land deal where he made over a million dollars for land he did not own
  • U.S. Senator who resigns due to unethical conduct with U.S. pages.
  • U.S. citizen/lobbyist indicted for bribery
  • Employees of elected city, state and federal officials being indicted for extortion, racketeering, fraud, etc.
Should we be surprised when 2 out of 3 young people feel that their behavior is better than everyone else's even though almost 2 out of 3 young people have cheated on a test?

No comments:

Post a Comment