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Centre of expertise HRM&OB

Faculty of Economics and Business
Centre of expertise Human Resource Management & Organisational BehaviourThemes

Ethical behaviour

How do I foster ethical behaviour in my organisation?

A reliable and ethical reputation is important for an organisation. It is propagated by the behaviour displayed by the members of the organisation and, at the same time, greatly affects this behaviour.

The ‘ethical behaviour’ field of expertise focusses on this type of conduct in the wide sense of the word.

Below you can find the questions which we provide answers to:

  • What is the effect of rules and regulations on behaviour? What is the purpose of rules and regulations and how do we apply them effectively?
  • What is the effect of health programmes? How can they be designed successfully?
  • How do people influence each other when it comes to integrity? When do they imitate others with regard to unethical or ethical behaviour, as the case may be, and when do they confront each other?
  • How can we induce a safe environment for whistleblowers?
  • How does ethical or unethical behaviour spread through an organisation?

Co-creation on these and related questions can be effected by:

  • conducting evaluation or impact research, for instance, identifying the effectiveness of health programmes and integrity programmes
  • by carrying out experiments/pilots concerning new policies, interventions and/or solutions, for instance, experiments with regulatory work, protocols, integrity trainings
  • by conducting research on workers, customers and/or stakeholders, for instance, focussing on attitudes relating to absence, health and observance of rules. It can also map out the occurrence of unethical practices
  • by analysing (large) databases including (sickness) absence data, customer data and/or productivity figures (Big Data)
people talking business setting

A reliable organisation brings out good behaviour in members of the workforce. For example, workers in a reliable organisation will have a low absentee rate, refrain from taking office items home, refrain from occupying themselves with private matters during working hours, while observing the rules and adopting a cooperative attitude in many respects, for instance, as regards commitment, flexibility and participation in health programmes. By the same token, organisations with employees who behave in an ethical way (transparent bookkeeping, avoiding confusion of interest, showing respect towards external parties) will show greater confidence towards external stakeholders.

For more information on this subject, please have a look at the publications of our staff members:


The task force Handhaving en Gedrag (‘Law enforcement and Behaviour’; a cooperation between, among others, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority NVWA and De Nederlandsche Bank N.V.) has commissioned us to conduct research on sanctions in relationships based on trust (Sancties in Vertrouwensrelaties), which has led to the following publication:


Our experts share our scientific insights into ethical behaviour on the shop floor on our blogs .

A selection of our blog articles:
Unethical behaviour

Hoe managementpraktijken functioneel onethisch gedrag motiveren

Date:03 May 2016
Author:Tim Vriend

Onethische gedragingen zijn gedragingen die illegaal zijn of moreel onacceptabel in een sociaal domein. Onethische gedragingen onder medewerkers kosten organisaties veel geld, en kunnen nare gevolgen hebben voor partijen binnen en buiten de organisatie. Ondanks...

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