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Values in the construction industry

An ethical culture starts with values. This article looks at values in the construction industry and how it feels to work there.
man and women each with one half of a heart pushing the half towards each other

Building an ethical culture

“Our personal values are at the core of who we are, what we believe in, our self worth and how we behave. When we are living our personal values we feel good, we have a positive mental attitude, and feel like we are living life to the fullest” (Barclay 2015)

Building an ethical culture starts with values. Knowing what your own values are, what motivates you, and knowing the values of your work environment, are all important but do they match? If your workplace lists its values on the company website, do they operate by them? Discuss this below after reading the article.

Ethics are who you are when no one is looking but what happens if you can’t be who you are on a daily basis?


At work, you may feel you have to compromise your ethics to follow social norms and ‘the way things are done. Whether or not you can be yourself and act in accordance with your values & ethics is very much dependent on your workplace culture.

Culture is set from the top and is how leaders do things, including their style of management & the way they make decisions. Culture is heavily dependent on leadership values and norms of behaviour.

A positive culture encourages people to speak up, be open & honest with shared values and have higher engagement. Having leaders with positive values and high moral standards creates an ethical culture.

Leaders with a command and control style

Leaders with a command and control style who don’t want to listen will create an environment where people won’t speak up to report on unethical behaviour.

Depending on their values, the leaders may be driving unethical behaviour from the top and although they may technically be staying above the law and being legal, their behaviour would not be judged by their peers to be ethical.

The construction industry

The construction industry can be a fantastic place to work and there are so many talented, hard-working and driven people who come together to create amazing spaces and infrastructure for their clients and stakeholders. There are, however, standard negative traits and behaviours that keep repeating themselves.

Modern slavery is at the extreme end of the spectrum, at the opposite end of the scale is bullying, command and control behaviour, lack of trust and conflict.

The industry is all about people and relationships and the quality of its buildings are based on the quality of those relationships. To truly collaborate it makes sense to start with values to understand the values of the client, stakeholders and the team members and also where the potential conflicts and barriers to success are.

© CIOB Academy
This article is from the free online

Construction Ethics and Compliance

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