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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.

Details

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.

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.

Details

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

Book part
Publication date: 16 May 2017

Sunil Savur

Exemplars play a central role in business ethics and ethical decision-making. In general terms, an exemplar is defined as ‘a person or thing to be copied’ and can include…

Abstract

Exemplars play a central role in business ethics and ethical decision-making. In general terms, an exemplar is defined as ‘a person or thing to be copied’ and can include persons who have their sense of moral commitment as a core part of their sense of self, take a principled personal stand or a role model or an organisation committed to certain moral standards or other things such as case studies, anecdotes, and even fables and myths. Researchers have used different approaches to explain the role of exemplars in decision-making in general and ethical decision-making in particular. This paper presents evidence of SME managers acknowledging the role of exemplars in the management of their businesses and in their ethical decision-making processes.

Semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted in an exploratory manner with 20 owners/senior managers of SMEs in Australia. Two types of exemplars were identified in the analysis – individual and organisational, and indicated the prominence of individual exemplars over organisational exemplars. Analysis also suggests the use of multiple exemplars, learning moral behaviours, getting inspired, learning ethical decision-making skills and the ability to retrieve exemplar representations from memory to influence judgements and decisions.

This study provides an insight into one of the methods employed by SME managers in ethical decision-making. Findings could be useful in making SME managers aware of their penchant of using exemplars. The paper contributes to the knowledge in the area of one of the many methods that SME managers use in ethical decision-making.

Details

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

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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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 October 2022

Nirupika Liyanapathirana and Chris Akroyd

This paper aims to understand how accountants in Sri Lanka perceive the effect of religiosity on ethical decision-making. Sri Lanka is a highly religious country, but it…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand how accountants in Sri Lanka perceive the effect of religiosity on ethical decision-making. Sri Lanka is a highly religious country, but it also has a high level of corruption, so understanding ethical decision-making in this context is important for the accounting profession.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 40 accountants in Sri Lanka with decision-making roles. Virtue ethics theory and content analysis were used to analyse the interview data and categorise accountants' responses into themes using an interpretive methodology.

Findings

This paper identifies three ways in which religiosity can influence accountants’ ethical decision-making. Firstly, through a faith in the beliefs of their religion; secondly, through awareness of religious prescriptions and virtues; and thirdly, through a commitment towards religious practices and rituals. However, the findings show that religiosity does not always influence the ethical decision-making of accountants because of pervasive corruption, which is a cultural norm in contemporary Sri Lanka. Thus, it is evident that there is an interrelationship between religious and cultural environments which can influence ethical decision-making.

Originality/value

While the religiosity of accountants can support ethical decision-making, the findings of this paper show that the cultural norm of corruption can mediate this connection as the evidence shows that accountants with a strong religious background, irrespective of their religion, may still act unethically when corruption is a cultural norm.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 21 June 2022

Othmar Manfred Lehner, Kim Ittonen, Hanna Silvola, Eva Ström and Alena Wührleitner

This paper aims to identify ethical challenges of using artificial intelligence (AI)-based accounting systems for decision-making and discusses its findings based on…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify ethical challenges of using artificial intelligence (AI)-based accounting systems for decision-making and discusses its findings based on Rest's four-component model of antecedents for ethical decision-making. This study derives implications for accounting and auditing scholars and practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is rooted in the hermeneutics tradition of interpretative accounting research, in which the reader and the texts engage in a form of dialogue. To substantiate this dialogue, the authors conduct a theoretically informed, narrative (semi-systematic) literature review spanning the years 2015–2020. This review's narrative is driven by the depicted contexts and the accounting/auditing practices found in selected articles are used as sample instead of the research or methods.

Findings

In the thematic coding of the selected papers the authors identify five major ethical challenges of AI-based decision-making in accounting: objectivity, privacy, transparency, accountability and trustworthiness. Using Rest's component model of antecedents for ethical decision-making as a stable framework for our structure, the authors critically discuss the challenges and their relevance for a future human–machine collaboration within varying agency between humans and AI.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on accounting as a subjectivising as well as mediating practice in a socio-material context. It does so by providing a solid base of arguments that AI alone, despite its enabling and mediating role in accounting, cannot make ethical accounting decisions because it lacks the necessary preconditions in terms of Rest's model of antecedents. What is more, as AI is bound to pre-set goals and subjected to human made conditions despite its autonomous learning and adaptive practices, it lacks true agency. As a consequence, accountability needs to be shared between humans and AI. The authors suggest that related governance as well as internal and external auditing processes need to be adapted in terms of skills and awareness to ensure an ethical AI-based decision-making.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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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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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.

Details

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

Keywords

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.

Details

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

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Nathan C. Whittier, Scott Williams and Todd C. Dewett

The paper seeks to evaluate the prescriptive value of ethical decisionmaking models.

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Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to evaluate the prescriptive value of ethical decisionmaking models.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores various types of models in the ethics literature in concert with knowledge from the decision sciences literature to develop a tentative list of evaluative criteria that might be applied to prescriptive models. It then applies these criteria to one prescriptive model from the ethics literature, developed by Petrick and Quinn, in an attempt to demonstrate the value of more comprehensive evaluation. It closes by considering future research aimed at the evaluation of ethical decisionmaking models as well as research needed to validate the Petrick and Quinn model.

Findings

This critique finds that the Petrick‐Quinn judgment integrity model satisfies most of the criteria discussed in the ethical decisionmaking literature. The primary opportunities for refining the Petrick‐Quinn model as a prescriptive framework for ethical decision making are: articulating the operational judgment component of the model as a formal, quantitative decision analysis, and conducting research to assess the real‐world utility of the model.

Originality/value

While there has been a proliferation of research concerning business ethics, little attention has been focused on evaluating the utility of ethical decisionmaking models. Accordingly, this paper advances theory, research and practice regarding ethical decision making in organizations.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

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