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 Results / Misconduct in companies

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Prevention and exposure

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Measures for preventing and exposing misconduct

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The companies surveyed from all four countries use various measures to prevent or expose misconduct at an early stage. The tools that are most frequently used are also the most cost-effective. This includes a clear signal from the management, who actively and openly address the issue and make it clear that illegal and unethical conduct will not be tolerated. The majority of companies surveyed have also drawn up a Code of Conduct that sets out their business principles and rules of conduct in writing. These two measures are frequently used by the surveyed small and medium-sized companies in particular, while the other tools are used much less frequently by SMEs compared to large companies in all countries (see country charts).

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Whistleblowing systems

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Almost two thirds (65%) of the companies surveyed in Great Britain and Switzerland have a whistleblowing system. Reports of concrete or suspected misconduct can thus also be submitted outside the disciplinary or technical reporting line prescribed by the organisational chart (see Figure 16). In Germany it is significantly lower, at around 56 per cent, followed by France, at 53 per cent. In all the countries surveyed, a clear majority of large companies have established a whistleblowing system, whereas this is (still) considerably less amongst small and medium-sized companies.

Across all countries, 59 per cent of all companies have introduced a whistleblowing system, 67 per cent of the large companies and 44 per cent of the SMEs.

The proportion of large Swiss companies with a whistleblowing system (71%) is almost identical to the results of the last Whistleblowing Report, which was produced for Switzerland only. In the previous report it was 70 per cent. This suggests that in the last two years hardly any additional large companies have introduced whistleblowing systems.

The in-depth statistical analysis shows that larger companies and those in the financial sector are more likely to have a whistleblowing system. The same positive correlation could be observed across all countries. Compared to other industries, the banks and insurance companies surveyed have more whistleblowing systems implemented.
The next chapter is devoted to the topic of whistleblowing systems in even more detail and examines the questions of why companies opt for or against a whistleblowing system, how these whistleblowing systems are designed and communicated, and to what extent companies benefit from this measure.