New Poll Shows That American Teens Have an Increasingly Strong Ethical Compass - But Many Lack the Courage of Their Convictions

Potential to Cave Under Pressure Suggests Continued Education and

Support Are Needed; Third Edition of Ethics Curriculum Is Released

Sep 20, 2005, 01:00 ET from Junior Achievement

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- An encouraging shift in
 teens' attitudes on ethics has emerged in a new poll released by JA Worldwide
 (Junior Achievement) and Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte).  As an
 indication that teenagers may be fine-tuning their ability to make ethical
 decisions, the number who say they would act unethically to get ahead if there
 was no chance of getting caught has dropped to 22 percent, down from 33
 percent in 2003.
     However, while exhibiting a strong sense of ethical principles, many teens
 don't have the courage of their convictions when faced with pressure from
 above.  More than 40 percent of teens admitted they might act unethically if
 instructed by their boss, and more than a third of teens would likely lie to
 their boss to cover up a mistake they made at work.
     "We believe it is incumbent upon organizations to create a culture that
 values personal integrity and expects ethical behavior," said James H.
 Quigley, CEO of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.  "When students tell us they can be
 swayed under pressure, it's a call for help.  Supporting education and
 dialogue about ethical decision-making is an important way we can encourage
 kids who may have difficulty making the right choice, and it's a long-term
 investment in fostering a high standard of integrity in the marketplace."
     In other findings, the poll shows that the positive relationship between
 business ethics and professional success continues to resonate with teens.
 The percentage of teens who believe "people who practice good business ethics
 are more successful in business than those who don't" has jumped to 69 percent
 this year, up from 56 percent in 2003.  The number of teens who think "you
 have to bend the rules to succeed" has also declined.
     "These poll results indicate that teens are aware of the importance of
 good ethics. They know the 'right answer' when faced with an ethical dilemma,
 but need support and ethics education to follow through on that knowledge,"
 said David S. Chernow, president and chief executive officer of JA Worldwide.
 "JA Worldwide is proud to join with Deloitte -- not only to teach students
 about business and entrepreneurship, but to provide them with tools that will
 help them to be upstanding members of society."
     Professor Arthur Brief, Director of the Burkenroad Institute for the Study
 of Ethical Leadership at Tulane University concurred. "Such findings," he
 said, "regrettably are consistent with what we're seeing in the workplace.
 Without education and a culture that encourages ethical behavior, sometimes
 good people can make bad decisions."
     Junior Achievement's "Excellence through Ethics" is a Deloitte-sponsored
 business ethics curriculum, the third edition of which has just been released.
 The goals of the curriculum include bringing the issue of business ethics to
 the forefront of students' minds, providing students the tools and training
 they need to become ethical business leaders and having a positive impact on
 the business leaders of tomorrow and on society.  It is used in all JA
 programs for grades 4-12 in the United States.  Activities are designed for
 classroom use and contain valuable tools to teach students about ethics.
 Content of the lessons includes, among several topics: examining the concept
 of intellectual property rights, learning the importance of presenting
 yourself accurately and truthfully during a job search, learning why insider
 trading is illegal, exploring ethical accounting practices, and understanding
 why ethical standards are important for business people.  For more information
 about "Excellence through Ethics," visit
     The survey of 777 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 was conducted in
 July 2005 as part of the release of the third edition of "Excellence through
 Ethics" curriculum, a $1 million initiative of JA Worldwide and Deloitte to
 promote business ethics among today's young people.
     Harris Interactive(R) conducted the online survey on behalf of JA
 Worldwide and Deloitte & Touche USA LLP between July 13 and 18, 2005 among a
 nationwide sample of 777 U.S. youth ages 13-18 years old, of whom 368 were
 male and 409 were female. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, highest
 level of education, highest level of parents' education and region were
 weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the
 population. The margin of error is +/- 4%.
     About JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement)
     JA Worldwide is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating
 young people about business, economics and entrepreneurship. Through a
 dedicated volunteer network, JA Worldwide provides in-school and after-school
 programs for students in grades K-12. JA Worldwide offers educational programs
 that focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics,
 entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career
 development. Today, 143 offices reach four million students in the United
 States, with more than 2.6 million students served by operations in 94
 countries worldwide. For more information, visit
     About Deloitte
     Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss
 Verein, its member firms and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates. As
 a Swiss Verein (association), neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its
 member firms has any liability for each other's acts or omissions. Each of the
 member firms is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the
 names "Deloitte," "Deloitte & Touche," "Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu," or other
 related names. Services are provided by the member firms or their subsidiaries
 or affiliates and not by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein.
     Deloitte & Touche USA LLP is the U.S. member firm of Deloitte Touche
 Tohmatsu. In the U.S., services are provided by the subsidiaries of Deloitte &
 Touche USA LLP (Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte Tax
 LLP, and their subsidiaries), and not by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.
     CONTACT:  Stephanie Bell of JA Worldwide, +1-719-540-6171,,
 or Lori Grey of Deloitte Services LP, +1-212-436-2603,

SOURCE Junior Achievement