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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2015

Alexandra E. MacDougall, Zhanna Bagdasarov, James F. Johnson and Michael D. Mumford

Business ethics provide a potent source of competitive advantage, placing increasing pressure on organizations to create and maintain an ethical workforce. Nonetheless…

Abstract

Business ethics provide a potent source of competitive advantage, placing increasing pressure on organizations to create and maintain an ethical workforce. Nonetheless, ethical breaches continue to permeate corporate life, suggesting that there is something missing from how we conceptualize and institutionalize organizational ethics. The current effort seeks to fill this void in two ways. First, we introduce an extended ethical framework premised on sensemaking in organizations. Within this framework, we suggest that multiple individual, organizational, and societal factors may differentially influence the ethical sensemaking process. Second, we contend that human resource management plays a central role in sustaining workplace ethics and explore the strategies through which human resource personnel can work to foster an ethical culture and spearhead ethics initiatives. Future research directions applicable to scholars in both the ethics and human resources domains are provided.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-016-6

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Book part
Publication date: 22 April 2013

Sunil Savur

Purpose – To critically examine various ethical decision making models and use them to arrive at five hypotheses to understand the methods used by small and medium…

Abstract

Purpose – To critically examine various ethical decision making models and use them to arrive at five hypotheses to understand the methods used by small and medium enterprise (SME) owner-managers in Australia when faced with ethical issues or dilemmas.Design/methodology/approach – This analysis involves literature reviews of rational decision making process, alternative methods of decision making and various ethical decision making models including Rest’s four-component model to arrive at the five hypotheses.Findings – The five hypotheses contend that SME owner-managers tend to resolve ethical issues using methods similar to Rest’s four-component model. Some may utilise all four components while others may skip one or more components of the model. Others may engage in intuition and heuristic methods of decision making. Ethical decisions by SME managers may be influenced by factors such as organisational factors, moral exemplars and reflection. The final hypothesis contends that SME managers could consider using the Balanced Scorecard as an instrument to monitor and manage business ethical issues.Research limitations – The literature reviews are not exhaustive but provide sufficient information for the purposes of this chapter.Practical implications – The significance of this study is that the hypotheses can be used to conduct interviews with SME managers and findings from the interviews could be developed into a practical tool for practising managers and a standard or guidelines for managing ethical issues in an SME.Originality/value – This chapter fulfils the need to understand the ethical decision making process and methods used by practicing SME managers in Australia.

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1994

David C. Wyld, Coy A. Jones, Sam D. Cappel and Daniel E. Hallock

Lawrence Kohlberg's (1969) concept of cognitive moral development (CMD) has been one of the most investigated constructs in the field of social psychology, with over one…

Abstract

Lawrence Kohlberg's (1969) concept of cognitive moral development (CMD) has been one of the most investigated constructs in the field of social psychology, with over one thousand studies reported investigating this construct in only two decades of research. However, what is the relationship of this theoretical construct to actual decision making and behavior? Blasi (1980, p. 4) opined for the criticality of moral judgement research to both ethical decision making and ethical inquiry, stating that “without judgement, an action, no matter how beneficial, would not be moral.” Relating Kohlberg's model to business decision making and behavior has been central to the building of theoretical frameworks of the ethical decision making process engaged in by individuals. The models of this process proposed by Trevino and Youngblood (1990), Trevino (1986), Bommer, Gratto, Gravender, and Tuttle (1987), Ferrell and Gresham (1985), Ferrell, Gresham, and Fraedrich (1989), Swinyard, DeLong, and Cheng (1989), and Jones (1991) all contained cognitive moral development as a factor in their respective models of ethical decision making.

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Management Research News, vol. 17 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Christabel Man‐Fong Ho

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…

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8916

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Book part
Publication date: 12 December 2003

Dean Bartlett

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study of ethical decision making by managers employed in two major companies in the U.K. Forty managers from these large…

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study of ethical decision making by managers employed in two major companies in the U.K. Forty managers from these large commercial organizations were interviewed about how ethical issues arise and are dealt with at work. This interview data was transcribed and a thematic content analysis was conducted in order to explore the various influences upon managerial ethical decision making. The analysis framework includes analysis at both an individual level, in terms of the role of individual characteristics such as personal value systems, and at an organizational level, in terms of the influence of organizational characteristics such as organizational culture. The paper then goes on to examine the extent to which this empirically-based account of ethical decision making is congruent with, or runs contrary to, some of the main theoretical propositions contained in the ethical decision-making literature. This provided only limited empirical support for the theoretical propositions described in the literature. In particular, the findings of the empirical work reported here suggest that while personal values may play a part in organizational ethics, the ethical decision-making process itself is subject to a much greater influence from the everyday demands and commercial pressures which managers perceived as being placed upon them in the types of organizations examined in this study. Thus, while supportive of the notion that values may be important in some respects, the study suggests that they are not necessarily that closely involved with the actual decision-making process. Rather the evidence gathered in this study indicates that they can exert an affectively-mediated retrospective effect. This possibility would suggest a reformulation of the role of values in the ethical decision-making process, while also calling for a greater emphasis upon the role of emotions. These are, however, only tentative findings and must therefore be subject to further empirical work before the precise way in which ethical issues arise, unfold and are dealt with in the workplace can be understood.

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Spiritual Intelligence at Work: Meaning, Metaphor, and Morals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-067-8

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2019

Paul Dunn and Barbara Sainty

The purpose of this paper is to develop a model of ethical decision-making that applies to accountants and the accounting profession.

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1136

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a model of ethical decision-making that applies to accountants and the accounting profession.

Design/methodology/approach

This model is an integration of five factors that influence ethical decision-making by accountants: professional codes of conduct; philosophical orientation; religious orientation; culturally derived values; and moral maturity.

Findings

This model is a synthesis of previous identified factors that influence ethical decision-making and incorporates them into a model that is specific to professional accountants.

Research limitations/implications

The authors develop a set of propositions and explain how this model can be tested and its implications for both the accounting profession and the teaching of business ethics.

Originality/value

This model presents a new way of viewing ethical decision-making by accountants that is predicated on the importance of professional codes of conduct that influence both behaviour and decision-making. The external certification of professional accountants provides a layer of accountability not previously incorporated into ethical decision-making models.

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Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Mahdi Moardi, Mahdi Salehi and Zakiyeh Marandi

This paper aims to investigate the role of affect and tolerance of ambiguity on ethical decision-making of management and accounting students.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the role of affect and tolerance of ambiguity on ethical decision-making of management and accounting students.

Design/methodology/approach

Weisbrod’s (2009) questionnaire on ethical decision-making in individual and organizational situations, McDonald’s (1970)16-factor questionnaire on tolerance of ambiguity and Watson et al.’s (1988) Positive and Negative Affect Schedule were used to study the students’ views toward research hypotheses. The population used in this study includes graduate and PhD students of accounting and management during the academic year 2014-2015. The number of samples is 398 and sample members selected using simple random sampling method. Hypotheses test using structural equation modeling in the AMOS software version 18.

Findings

Results of hypotheses shows that individual characteristics of positive and negative affect and tolerance of ambiguity have no effect on accounting students’ ethical decision-making, but there is a significant positive relationship between management students’ negative affect and ethical decision-making, and a significant negative relationship between management students’ increased level of tolerance of ambiguity and ethical decision-making. The findings also show that affect (positive and negative) and tolerance of ambiguity have no interactive effect on accounting students’ ethical decision-making, whereas among students of management, there is a significant relationship between interactive effect of negative affect and tolerance of ambiguity on ethical decision-making. The results show that there is a significant difference between students of management and accounting based on negative effects and tolerance of ambiguity on ethical decision-making.

Originality/value

The current paper is almost the first paper which was conducted in developing countries.

Details

Humanomics, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0828-8666

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2018

Sean Robert Valentine, David Hollingworth and Patrick Schultz

Focusing on ethical issues when making organizational decisions should encourage a variety of positive outcomes for companies and their employees. The purpose of this…

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1230

Abstract

Purpose

Focusing on ethical issues when making organizational decisions should encourage a variety of positive outcomes for companies and their employees. The purpose of this paper is to determine the degree to which data-based ethical decision making, lateral relations and organizational commitment are interrelated in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from business professionals employed at multiple locations of a financial services firm operating in the USA. Mediation analysis (based on structural equation modeling) was used to test the proposed relationships.

Findings

Results indicated that employees’ perceptions of data-based ethical decision making were positively related to perceived lateral relations, and that perceived lateral relations were positively related to organizational commitment.

Research limitations/implications

Given that information was collected using only a self-report questionnaire, common method bias could be an issue. In addition, the study’s cross-sectional design limits conclusions about causality. Another limitation involves the study’s homogenous sample, which decreases the generalizability of the findings. Finally, variable responses could have been impacted by individual frames of reference and other perceptual differences.

Practical implications

Results suggest that information flow enhancements should support or be consistent with horizontal information flow enhancements, and that together these factors should increase employee commitment.

Originality/value

Given the dearth of existing research, this interdisciplinary investigation is important because it fills gaps in the management literature. This study is also important because the results could inform decisions regarding the use of data analysis in ethical decisions and lateral forms of organizational structuring to improve work attitudes.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 40 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2010

J.R.C. Pimentel, J.R. Kuntz and Detelin S. Elenkov

The purpose of this paper is to offer an interdisciplinary review of the existing research on ethical behavior – informed by philosophical theories, social sciences, and…

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10682

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an interdisciplinary review of the existing research on ethical behavior – informed by philosophical theories, social sciences, and applied business research – and identifies the merits and limitations of the extant theories, including the applicability of prescriptive frameworks and models to business practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Following the review, the paper advances a descriptive model of ethical decision‐making criteria that elucidates how individual, organizational, and environmental variables interact to influence attitude formation across critical components of an ethical issue.

Findings

The model advanced expands upon other existing frameworks and provides a comprehensive and simultaneous assessment of the interplay between individual‐level variables (e.g. demographic variables, position in the organisation), the structure and climate of the organisation in which the decisions are made, and the social and political features of the business environment.

Practical implications

The proposed model can be used as a training tool and it holds several advantages over the extant alternatives, namely versatility (it is adaptable to the specific organizational context in which respondents are required to conceptualize the dilemma and generate courses of action), and scope (the model allows for the simultaneous assessment of a myriad of cross‐level variables).

Originality/value

The paper offers a comprehensive decision‐making model that can be used to examine ethical decisions in business settings, to investigate potential differences in decision‐making accuracy and ethical reasoning between groups and individuals, and to examine the impact of changing ethical climates in organizational strategy.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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Book part
Publication date: 16 May 2017

Nicola Pless, Filomena Sabatella and Thomas Maak

Recent years have brought significant advances in research on behavioral ethics. However, research on ethical decision making is still in a nascent stage. Our objective in…

Abstract

Recent years have brought significant advances in research on behavioral ethics. However, research on ethical decision making is still in a nascent stage. Our objective in this paper is twofold: First, we argue that the practice of mindfulness may have significant positive effects on ethical decision making in organizations. More specifically, we will discuss the benefits of “reperceiving” – a meta-mechanism in the practice of mindfulness for ethical decision making and we provide an overview of mindfulness research pertaining to ethical decision making. Subsequently, we explore areas in which neuroscience research may inform research on ethics in organizations. We conclude that both neuroscience and mindfulness offer considerable promise to the field of ethical decision making.

Details

Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-416-3

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1 – 10 of over 25000