Ethics at Work 2018: France

Publication type: Survey
04 December 2018

Tags: Speak Up, Ethics Programme issues

This survey report describes the French findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

Speed read

Key findings

  • One in five French employees say they have felt under pressure to compromise their organisation’s ethical standards
  • More French employees have witnessed misconduct, but there is an improvement in the number who are willing to speak up about it
  • 20% of employees say that they have felt pressured to compromise their organisation’s ethical standard (an increase of +6 percentage points from 2015 (14%) and in higher than the 2018 average (16%) for the eight European countries studies.
  • The figure is even higher for those in managerial positions (26% versus non‐managers 16%)
  • The reasons employees cite for the pressure include time pressure (38%); following a boss’s orders (30%); having to meet unrealistic business objectives/deadlines (23%) and being  under‐resourced (23%). 


The IBE’s Ethics at Work survey is the only one of its kind covering Europe. This report take a deeper look at data and focuses on the responses from French employees. It asks employees how they experience ethics in their day-to-day working lives and how they perceive corporate ethical culture. It looks at whether they have witnessed misconduct; whether they have reported it; and what if anything stops them from doing so, answering questions such as:

  • How does their experience of ethics in their workplaces differ from that of the average European employee?
  • What are French employees’ perception of honesty, misconduct and speaking up?
  • What pressures are French employees under to compromise ethical standards?

It provides real insight into employees’ views on ethics across all sectors and job roles, and offers a context for employee experiences across Europe. It also examines the impact of formal ethics programmes on embedding ethical values into organisational culture and influencing behaviour.

Over 6,000 employees were surveyed across Europe, including 754 in France. This is the third time that the survey, which began in the UK in 2005, has been conducted in France.