Intimidation, fear of losing jobs and threats to lives are the main reasons professionals don’t blow the whistle on unethical behaviour, both in the private and public sector.
According to the 2018 Anti-intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum’s (AEPF) Ethical Practices Survey released in Johannesburg yesterday, the number of professionals in the private sector who strongly feared losing their jobs for blowing the whistle increased from 10% last year to 13% this year.
The annual survey, with the first conducted last year, serves as a barometer and quantitative tool to capture “the perceptions of professionals regarding ethical practices in society, organisations and professional institutions”.
Of the sampled professionals in the private sector, 10% strongly agreed they had been intimidated for blowing the whistle, compared to 13% last year.
In the public sector, there was a slight decrease, with 18% of the sampled professionals strongly agreeing to having been intimidated for doing the right thing, compared to 19% in the previous year.
At 42% compared to 51% last year, the study recorded a significant decline in the number of respondents who were comfortable reporting unethical behaviour in the private sector. In the public sector only 19% felt comfortable reporting wrongdoing compared to the 25% last year.
Chairperson of the forum Dr Claudelle von Eck said leaders in both the public and private sectors “have taken a substantial fall from grace” in the past year.