Why Authentic Workplaces Are More Ethical

Do you work for an organisation that you feel is passionate about their people? As a leader, do you feel that you inspire others to be the best versions of themselves?

We are increasingly learning that that people want to feel authentic at work and the author of this very interesting and recent article feels just that.

By authentic, what do we really mean? Does this mean people being able to bring their ‘whole selves’ to the workplace and expressing themselves fully? Perhaps they don’t want their professional responsibilities to interfere with, or compromise, their values. Or perhaps there is a need to ‘be professional’ all the time and people are not being afforded the opportunity to be ‘human’ also.

The large number of Millennials in the workforce has caused this concept to gain traction.

The author’s research suggests that enabling people to come to work with a greater sense of authenticity ultimately leads to more ethical behaviour, which in turn reduces business risk. These studies showed that participants who identified themselves with low identity integration felt more inauthentic and engaged in more dishonest behaviour compared to those with high integration. In another study, a similar pattern of unethical behaviour was reported for those with lower identity integration as measured by supervisors’ reports of workplace misconduct.

There are several practical ways to promote identity integration for your people:

  • Enable your employees to take control or craft key elements of their responsibilities. Such ‘job crafting’ can involve tasks, relationships and how employees think about their roles.

  • Ensure that your mission and values are clear and that you live them. Share stories of them in action. Employees notice when business practices are not aligned with an organisation’s values.

  • Have a policy of transparency; how things are done should be clear to everyone in the organisation.

  • Don’t force things; recognise that there is a heterogeneity amongst employee needs and work to understand these on an individual basis.

In summary, understanding the value of authenticity and promoting it in the workplace can reduce the risk of unethical behaviour in your business.

All the recent learnings on this subject only fuels our desire to develop our authentic leadership programme Human Fit™ for Purpose more. If you would like to uncover the real and authentic you, and articulate your true value at work, whether you are looking for a new opportunity or desiring to be a better role model, Royall can help. We’ve spent years developing this process with specialists and are proud of the results we are achieving in helping individuals to be more authentic at home and in the workplace environment.

Contact us now on to find out more about Human Fit™ for Purpose on jenny@royall.biz or telephone on 01243 200077. We look forward to hearing from you.


Harvard Business Review: Maryam Kouchaki


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