Issue 4
Fall '20

Ethical Climate, Job Satisfaction and Wellbeing: Observations from an Empirical Study of New Australian Lawyers

Written By: Stephen Tang, Vivien Holmes, and Tony Foley


It is clear from research that workplace environments can influence employees to behave ethically or unethically. To date, such research has focused on corporate workplace culture; legal workplaces have come under limited scrutiny. This Article reports on a study that expands that scrutiny by surveying perceptions of ethical climate in legal practices. The study breaks new ground by correlating perceptions of ethical climate with measures of psychological health, organizational learning culture, job and career satisfaction, and understandings of professionalism. Our findings are clear enough for legal practice managers, professional bodies, and regulators to take note of the organizational factors linked to sound mental health and job satisfaction and to develop interventions aimed at promoting these factors.

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