A recent study from the Ethics Resource Center caught my attention. The report, “Generational Differences in Workplace Ethics,” noted that younger workers are more susceptible to experiencing ethical dilemmas on the job.
The report examines trends among four generational groups: Millennials (born 1981-2000), Gen X (born 1965-1980), Boomers (born 1946-1964), and Traditionalists (born 1925-1945). Significant world events and different cultural trends shaped each generation, so it is perhaps no surprise that each one shows distinct differences when it comes to ethics. The study found that certain age groups are more “at risk” on four measures of ethical performance: misconduct, pressure to compromise standards, reporting, and retaliation. According to the report, the younger the worker, the more likely he or she is to feel pressure, observe misconduct, and experience retaliation for reporting misconduct.