What are the costs of a Low-Integrity Environment?

Fines.  Loss of share value.  Firings.  Public shame. 

Everyone knows the financial and reputational costs of a low-trust environment where integrity, proper conduct and ethical behavior aren’t at the forefront of an organization.  But most people don’t think about the emotional toll such an environment creates, nor do they realize the tremendous benefits that a high-trust and ethical environment can instill.

Acting unethically has a strong effect on most people’s emotional and physical life.  Unethical behavior leads people to report feelings of heightened stress and anxiety.  Fear of getting caught, or of being found out, can cause people to distance themselves from co-workers, friends and family. 

The good news is that the opposite is true for organizations and individuals who choose to act with integrity and who perceive their organization to be committed to its values.  Studies in Steven Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, found that organizations that are perceived to act with integrity materially improve: