A new survey from Deloitte says that there is a strong relationship between work-life balance and positive ethical behaviors at work.

Conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Deloitte & Touche, the survey also showed that the behaviors of management and direct supervisors, coupled with positive reinforcement for ethical behavior, are the top factors for promoting ethical behavior in the workforce.

“If someone invests all of their time and energy into their job, it may have the unintended consequence of making them dependent on their jobs for everything -- including their sense of personal worth,” said Deloitte board chairwoman Sharon L. Allen, in a statement. “This makes it even harder to make a good choice when faced with an ethical dilemma if they believe it will impact their professional success.”
 
According to the survey, 91 percent of all employed adults agreed that workers are more likely to behave ethically at work when they have a good work-life balance. A combined 44 percent of workers cited high levels of stress (28 percent), long hours (25 percent) and inflexible schedules (13 percent) as the causes of conflict between their work responsibilities and personal priorities, and hence as contributors to work-life imbalance. 
 
Sixty percent of employed adults surveyed said they thought that job dissatisfaction is a leading reason why people make unethical decisions at work, and more than half of workers (55 percent) ranked a flexible work schedule among the top three factors leading to job satisfaction, second only to compensation (63 percent).
 
The survey also reveals the important impact that management and supervisors have in promoting ethical workplace behaviors. Employed adults ranked the behavior of management (42 percent) and direct supervisors (36 percent) as the top two factors contributing to the promotion of an ethical workplace. 
 
Interestingly, the survey showed that reinforcement of criminal penalties and ethics training may do little to deter unethical behavior at work.

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