A 2004 United Nations ethics survey highlights the
enormity of the ethical breaches and problems internationally by showing a trickle down mentality on a global scale. Institutionalized
ethics mediocrity potentially infects nearly every other organization in the world. The UN staff, one that includes well over
a hundred fifty thousand workers worldwide, finds a majority admitting to UN ethics researchers random acts of unethical
behavior; A behavior that exists at every level, from the lowest to the highest.
The ethics report notes that United Nations employees justify their unethical
behavior because they mimic the actions of supervisors all the way up the chain to the diplomatic level. The Iraqi Food For
Oil program and the scandal that accompanied it came to light in 2005. It had, on investigation, wormed its way into every
nook and cranny of the UN leadership. Singularly, it is perhaps the most striking example of the UN's moral bankruptcy.
To know that this exists among those in an organization that are supposed to exemplify the best of ethical values the world
has to offer, is an abysmal indictment of the character of those entrusted with such responsibility. Is this the message our academies and organizations send to students, world citizens, and our communities
- that it is OK to be unethical to get ahead, accomplish a mission, to win at any cost? The majority of UN staffers justify
their "ethics as it suits them" conduct on the premise that they see the example of their leaders, managers, and
supervisors embracing unethical behavior "all the time" to gain from it personally or collectively, so why not them?
This cancer does not affect just the UN, or for that matter the much-maligned American corporate world, but every organization
regardless of origin, everywhere. No one is immune. Anyone can randomly be infected.