The IG’s office at the U.S. Postal Service has begun a review of the agency’s ethics culture, focusing on whether performance metrics–a special emphasis in the production-oriented USPS but commonly used throughout government–denigrate employee ethics.
“It is not uncommon that employees feel pressured to meet organizational goals, and as goals are raised, employees may turn to less-than-ethical means to meet them. As a result, work environments can fill up with unethical behavior that employees rationalize. Likewise, when employees detect unethical behavior, they may not feel comfortable reporting it,” an online post announcing the study says.
It noted that the Postal Service’s standards of conduct and ethical principles, like those of agencies generally, include focuses on an honest work effort, protecting government property, not using one’s position for personal gain, complying with laws, and reporting waste, fraud, abuse, or corruption.
The IG said it “will be assessing the maturity of the Postal Service’s ethics in three areas of best practice: accountability and enforcement, response and prevention, and agency goals and metrics.” It will examine best practices that USPS could add to its current program, areas of risk that it may not be addressing but should, and whether the view from the inside matches the favorable public perception of USPS as reported by several polling and research organizations.