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Ethics management for the construction industry: A review of ethical decision‐making literature

Christabel Man‐Fong Ho (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




Managing ethics has come to be considered a management discipline, especially since the birth of business ethics and social responsibility movements in the 1960s. However, there seems to be no comprehensive review and synthesis of ethics management literature in construction. This research aims to address the theory‐practice gap by providing a critical review of the ethics decision‐making literature.


The study examines critically the ethics decision‐making literature from the 1980s to 2008.


Three research focuses, relating to the construction industry in ethical decision making, are identified: empirical studies on examining the associations between variables (individuals, situational/organisational, moral intensity) and employees' ethical behaviour in construction organisational contexts; continuous application of behavioural science theories to develop an appropriate ethical decision‐making model for the industry; and research on group and/or organisational level behaviour ethics.

Research limitations/implications

The study identifies, draws together, and integrates existing theories and research, with a particular emphasis on ethical decision‐making models, to present the key contributions in the realm of ethics decision making.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the role of management (both as an academic discipline and from a practitioner perspective) in bridging this gap.


The research adds value to the literature on ethics management, where limited knowledge exists in the construction industry.



Man‐Fong Ho, C. (2011), "Ethics management for the construction industry: A review of ethical decision‐making literature", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 516-537.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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