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COLOR MANAGEMENT ETHICS GRAY, BUSINESS MAGAZINE FINDS

 CLEVELAND, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Stealing. Discrimination. Lies. How do industry manager's -- the "keepers of the code" of moral conduct and appropriate behavior -- stand on these ethical issues?
 To find answers to modern-day ethical questions among managers, Industry Week (IW) magazine surveyed 1,300 middle managers in medium- sized and large companies with at least 500 employees. In a nutshell, middle managers' responses to straightforward ethical questions reflect a pure and steadfast virtue. When pushed into gray areas where loyalties, goals, and the desire to be honest don't coincide, however, rationalizations for shady behavior begin working their way into decisions.
 Overall, the vast majority of respondents to the IW survey have extremely slim odds of ever winding up in the slammer for pinching the corporate coffer. But in a more telling ethical measure, Mother would still probably cast a disapproving eye on a few of the respondents' answers. One interesting example: As the finale to its survey, IW asked if the respondent had lied in answering any of the questions. In spite of the fact that the survey was both voluntary and anonymous, 5 percent of the managers admitted they lied on one or more of their answers.
 In response to clearly right/wrong ethical questions, middle managers earn high honors for their stated integrity. Given the scenario that a close business associate asked for preferential treatment on an upcoming contract and has offered you a generous sum of money "for your time and trouble," 99 percent of survey respondents say they would turn down the tip. Similarly, given the opportunity to steal $100,000 from their company with absolute certainty that they would not be detected or caught, 98 percent of the managers maintain that they would not take the money.
 "Borrowing" company materials or fudging on one's expense account, on the other hand, appears to elicit a smaller degree of ethical circumspection among industry middle managers than for a full-fledged heist. When asked if they had ever taken anything worth more than $25 from their company, 4 percent say they have done so -- once -- and an additional 4 percent say they have done so repeatedly.
 When it comes to others stealing large sums of money from their companies, industry managers have little regard for how close their friendship is with the offender. One-half of all managers say that even if the offender were a close friend, they would go directly to an executive in their company to report the incident before talking about it with the offender. One-fourth of the managers say they would confront the individual before taking action, and about one-fifth of respondents say they would first make contact with the individual with the aim of persuading that person to return the money.
 The majority of middle managers also say they would not hesitate to turn in an offender who also happens to be the company CEO. The biggest difference is that fewer of the respondents would confront the CEO directly about the transgression -- most likely out of fear.
 In the area of biases, 10 percent of industry managers say they would prefer to hire a white male over a female. Although that means the great majority of managers (90 percent) report no preference regarding gender, it also means that females in one of 10 hiring situations start off with a disadvantage. Even 2.4 percent of women managers say they would prefer to hire a white male over a female.
 About the same amount of hiring bias exists against racial minorities, with 10 percent of industry managers reporting a hiring preference toward white males. Women managers are less biased, but 6 percent would still prefer to hire a nonminority.
 A high level of discrimination appears to exist against the gay population. The survey reveals that the level of bias increases with the level of responsibility and public contact that the position in question entails. Yet even for a production-line job with virtually no visibility, 34 percent of industry middle managers say they would not hire an admitted homosexual. For a management or sales position, 52 percent say they would not hire a homosexual. The survey thus strongly indicates it is more acceptable to discriminate against admitted gays than against women or minorities.
 Industry Week is the management magazine for industry published by Penton Publishing.
 -0- 3/12/93
 /CONTACT: Chuck Day of Industry Week, 216-696-7000, or 216-521-3861, after hours/


CO: Industry Week ST: Ohio IN: PUB SU:

BM -- CLFNS1 -- 5365 03/12/93 07:32 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1993
Words:750
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