Ethics at Work 2018: Portugal

Publication type: Survey
19 November 2018

Tags: Speak Up, Ethics Programme issues, Treatment of Employees

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

Speed read

Key findings

  • Portugese employees are less likely than the average employee to say that questionable workplace practices are acceptable
  • Pretending to be sick to take a day off; minor fiddling/exaggeration of travel expenses and charging personal entertainment to expenses are considered the most unacceptable practices Europe‐wide, with Portuguese employees finding them more unacceptable than the European average (90% Europe vs. 97% Portugal, 89% vs.  92% and 89% vs. 94% respectively)
  • Employees in Portugal are more likely to say that honesty is practiced always or frequently in their organisation’s daily operations than the European average (85% vs. 78% respectively)
  • However, despite this positive finding, a third  of Portuguese employees say they have been aware of ethical misconduct, compared to three in ten European employees who say the same (35% vs. 30% respectively)


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 Portugese 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 Portugese employees’ perception of honesty, misconduct and speaking up?
  • What pressures are Portugese 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 775 in Portugal. This is the first time that the survey, which began in the UK in 2005, has been conducted in Portugal.