Research Insights: Business Leader Survey 2019

Findings from a Study by Wertekommission and TUM School of Management

What factors contribute to employees’ moral behavior? What factors have a negative effect on it? Important insights regarding these questions were published on 27 August 2019 in the results of the Business Leader Survey 2019.

Since 2006, the annual study conducted by Wertekommission – Initiative Werte Bewusste Führung e.V., provides a foundation for assessing the discourse on ethics in German business and society. The annual study focuses on moral awareness and the value hierarchy of German business leaders. As in previous years, the current study was conducted in cooperation with Maxim Egorov, Dr. Armin Pircher Verdorfer and Prof. Dr. Claudia Peus from the Chair of Research and Science Management as well as the Executive Education Center of the TUM School of Management.

In addition to the established focus on individual values among business leaders and the impact of the digital transformation, this year’s study investigated the following important research question: How do German business leaders evaluate the ethical culture in their own organizations? By addressing this question, the study shed light on the organizational context, individual values, personality traits as well as moral competences of leaders and employees.

According to the main findings of this study, a majority of the interviewed business leaders asserted that their companies have a strong ethical culture. Nevertheless, one quarter of participants also identified deficits in their companies’ organizational cultures when it comes to preventing unethical behavior in an efficient and sustainable manner. Furthermore, the results suggest that while the majority of leaders rate themselves high on moral integrity, a significant part of them also scores high on cynicism, assuming that people and organizations are fundamentally disposed towards selfish actions.

An interview with Prof. Dr. Claudia Peus by Süddeutsche Zeitung provides further insights into the results. Please find the full research report on the Business Leader Survey 2019 here.

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