Unethical culture and company performance based on employee reviews

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Alexandre Di Miceli da Silveira


I investigate the relationship between unethical culture and financial performance based on a text analysis of over 100,000 employee reviews posted at Glassdoor in Brazil. An original measure of unethical culture is created based on five ethical dimensions companies need to avert for an ethical culture to flourish. After creating an original list of around 1,400 terms, I find that companies scoring higher in unethical culture are less profitable and that this relationship is likely to be economically relevant. Of the five dimensions that make up an unethical culture, organizational unfairness, lack of awareness, and fear of retaliation are the three most strongly negatively related to performance. To my knowledge, this is the first paper to document a link between (un)ethical culture and corporate performance using online reviews. For investors, this paper contributes by showing that ethical culture measured by employee reviews is a value-relevant source of information.


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DA SILVEIRA, A. D. M. Unethical culture and company performance based on employee reviews. RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 63, n. 2, p. e2020–0926, 2023. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-759020230206. Disponível em: https://periodicos.fgv.br/rae/article/view/89183. Acesso em: 25 feb. 2024.


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