CXO

Consultants' ethical codes are informal yet strict, survey reveals

Who monitors the ethics of consultants? What happens when a consultant strays from the straight and narrow? Find out what our members said about ethics on the job.


In a recent informal survey, TechRepublic asked the IT Consultant community members about their ethics practices and those of their peers in the industry. We had 187 responses to our seven-question survey. In addition, we’ve received many anecdotal responses to two related articles, which we summarized in "Members share tales of questionable ethics."

Who monitors everyday practices in the workplace? Are there consequences for unethical behavior? Read on to find out how our members responded.

Did you sign a code of ethics as a condition of employment?
The majority, 63 percent of respondents, said that their firm has a code of ethics. But 53 percent said that they did not have to sign a code of ethics or an ethics-related pledge as a condition of employment.



Who monitors behavior for unethical practices?
When asked, “Does your firm have an ethics committee or other behavior-policing entity?” 62 percent of respondents said no. We also asked, “Within your organization, who monitors behavior for unethical practices?” From the seven possible answers, 46 percent of respondents said supervisors or project leaders were the behavior monitors. The next highest responses were “We monitor ourselves” (17 percent) and “We monitor one another and ourselves” (15 percent).





What happens to those accused of unethical behavior?
When asked whether anyone at their firm had been accused of unethical behavior, 41 percent of our respondents said yes. Of that 41 percent, 66 percent said that the accused party was eventually “found to be guilty” of unethical behavior.

So what were the consequences for the guilty party? The majority of respondents (19 percent) said that the consultant was fired. The next highest-rated answer was “no consequences” (11 percent) followed closely by “consultant asked to resign” (10 percent).


Have you been accused of unethical behavior? Have you had to defend your actions on a particular job or assignment? Tell us your story by sending us an e-mail or post your comments in the discussion below.

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