Due to the IEAI suggestions, the survey included several questions related to the use of  AI at work for the first time.

The IEAI acted as the German national partner for the Ethics at Work: 2021 international survey of employees conducted by the IBE Institute for Business Ethics, London. The survey, which is conducted every three years, surveyed almost 10,000 employees in 13 countries to find out more about their attitudes to and perceptions of ethics in their organisation.

The good news is:

  • Many organisations have responded well to the ethical challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ethical standards have improved since 2018.
  • Ethics programs are having a big impact.


  • Having an ethics program is not enough to stamp out unethical behaviour.
  • Managers have rosier views than frontline staff.
  • Fear and futility are still barriers to speaking up.

The key findings of the survey are:

  • Over a third of employees believe that ethical standards in their organisation have improved following the pandemic (37%) and fewer than one in ten believe standards have worsened (8%).
  • 86% of employees say that honesty is practised always or frequently in their organisation.
  • Over half of employees (53%) say their organisation has a Speak Up mechanism to report misconduct confidentially.
  • Only slightly more than half of employees who were aware of ethical misconduct say that they raised their concerns (57%).
  • A shocking two-fifths of employees who spoke up about ethical misconduct say that they experienced retaliation as a result (43%).
  • Almost half of employees (48%) in organisations with a comprehensive ethics program say that their line manager rewards employees who get good results, even if they use practices that are ethically questionable.

This survey is the only one of its kind, covering 13 countries over four continents, that provides real insight into employees’ views on ethics across all sectors and job roles.

Access the results

Apart from the general survey results, the IEAI researchers are working on a practitioner paper based on the more AI-related results. Stay tuned for more!