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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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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2010

Christina Reis

Regarding managers' sensemaking of ethical content, this paper aims to help understand how managers come to believe what is important for business ethics and to improve…

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3837

Abstract

Purpose

Regarding managers' sensemaking of ethical content, this paper aims to help understand how managers come to believe what is important for business ethics and to improve understanding about their ethical work orientations.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used was a qualitative approach that analyzed 23 in‐depth interviews conducted with managers in various settings.

Findings

Three categories of ethical sense‐making orientations were identified: the proactive managers; the institutional managers; the technical managers. The study follows a discussion of the significance of these categories in terms of ethics in management, focusing on the extent to which the individual or the organization appears to drive ethical dilemmas.

Research limitations/implications

Five main limitations are discussed. It was not the aim of the study to provide an explanatory model for the process of ethical sensemaking and managers' work orientations. The sample of managers used in the study is only indicative of managers' ethical work orientations.

Practical implications

Managers have different ethical work orientations that relate to their personal identities. These categories may provide a framework for future research on additional types of professionals, organizations and cultural settings. For example, the institutional ethical managers are easier for organizations to control since they seem to rely on company rules.

Originality/value

The paper is valuable for management scholars and practitioners in the field of management. Since not much has been written about the sensemaking of managers and business ethics, the paper examines how some managers were more proactive than others in identifying ethical content in unexpected situations.

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Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Nuno Guimarães-Costa, Miguel Pina e Cunha and Arménio Rego

The purpose of this paper is to understand the behaviours described by expatriates (“what expatriates say they do”) when they are pressed for adjustment and, at the same…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the behaviours described by expatriates (“what expatriates say they do”) when they are pressed for adjustment and, at the same time, they feel ethically challenged.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 52 expatriates from the European Union working in Sub-Saharan Africa who were immersed in what was considered by them to be an ethically challenging context or situation while they were in the process of adjusting to their international assignment. The authors conducted a reflexive qualitative analysis between the data and existing literature.

Findings

The authors found that the feeling of moral discomfort that causes the perception of an ethical challenge is triggered by an event that contrasts with the expatriates’ notion of morals. After feeling ethically challenged, expatriates engage in a sensemaking process that is hinged in an “intended future identity”.

Research limitations/implications

The authors contribute to the literature by stressing the ethical dimension of adjustment. The authors complement the normative approaches to ethical decision making in international contexts. The research identifies a set of events that are considered as ethical challenges by business expatriates.

Practical implications

The research opens the possibility to anticipate and manage potential conflicts, thus minimizing the probability of expatriation failure. Early knowledge about an expatriate's intended future identity can provide relevant information concerning the probable type of adjustment problems s/he will face.

Originality/value

The research combines two hitherto separate streams of literature – expatriate adjustment and ethical decision making in international contexts – to open the possibility of ethical adjustment. This is supported by a sensemaking process that is also grounded in future intentions, and not only in past experiences and present signals.

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Journal of Global Mobility, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2019

Massimo Battaglia, Shanshan Zhou and Marco Frey

The purpose of this paper is to deal with the link between identity and crisis deriving by natural disasters, exploring the function of the shared identity linking…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to deal with the link between identity and crisis deriving by natural disasters, exploring the function of the shared identity linking individuals, groups, organizations and its external networks. The shared identity is not static. It is a dynamic self-reflexive learning process and is reciprocal. The object of the research is a medium-sized multi-utility company, which experienced the 2012 earthquakes, and how responsibly and rapidly it responded and recovered in collaboration with its stakeholders in the local territory.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were directed to both managers and to selected representatives of the “vertical external networks” of the company (local authorities, a consumer association and a trade association). The primary data were supplemented by archived materials for data triangulation.

Findings

The research highlights the importance of identity and relationship with local stakeholders and communities when facing the earthquakes. Believing themselves to be socially responsible, ethical and capable, employees were highly motivated and collaborative. Resuming normal services was AIMAG’s priority. The behavior of AIMAG, its employees and its local stakeholders were guided by a shared community identity. After the earthquakes, this shared community identity was strengthened, thus improving the community’s resilience.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the role of identity in linking both inside and outside an organization, in contributing greatly to joint decision making and action, and, finally, in increasing the awareness of the company leaders and staff regarding the importance of their actions for the whole local community. This research advocates the role of identity in disaster risk reduction.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Charles Smith

The purpose of the paper is to propose a framework for researching the possibilities for project manager identities: the multiple ways there are of being a performer, as a…

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1790

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to propose a framework for researching the possibilities for project manager identities: the multiple ways there are of being a performer, as a manager, in the world of projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The author's line of enquiry was to seek evidence of project manager identity within real‐life stories told by practitioners, the author's perspective being: that identity is produced through action, that action and identity are framed by social narratives, and that identities and the strategies that create and support them are therefore evident in project stories.

Findings

Two examples are discussed; they validate the proposed research framework, demonstrating how storytellers use their projects as vehicles for the performance of their personal professional “project manager identity”.

Research limitations/implications

The form of the stories is crucial to what their analysis can reveal about identities. The personal stories (narrating the storyteller's own experience) must be, in essence, complete, told by individuals addressing situations that challenge them.

Social implications

The primary purpose of this research is to inform personal learning and educational programmes. An enriched understanding of what it means to be a professional in the project world can enhance the awareness of individuals learning to perform roles, and making choices in this field.

Originality/value

The analysis of stories has been used previously as a research methodology to critique projects and power structures. This paper makes proposals to extend the use of such analysis into the realm of personal identity and its construction.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2010

Randolph E. Schwering

This paper forwards a conceptual model identifying some of the key sources of judgment error in individual environmental sensemaking. Recommendations are offered to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper forwards a conceptual model identifying some of the key sources of judgment error in individual environmental sensemaking. Recommendations are offered to mitigate some of these biasing dysfunctions and thereby improve the effectiveness of environmentally related business policy.

Design/methodology/approach

Theories of cognitive and behavioral sciences are reviewed and applied to create a conceptual model describing some of the key influences on individual sensemaking in regard to environmental risk and opportunity.

Findings

It is found that the model presented in this paper contributes to the literature of corporate social responsibility in explaining some of the heuristic phenomena that can lead to denial of a firm's negative environmental impact, or conversely, recognition of emerging opportunities arising from increasing societal concern for environmental integrity. Many environmental scientists believe denial is omnipresent in modern business and governmental organizations. In addition, because the model is grounded in well‐established theories of problematic heuristic bias, it helps identify “leverage points” where well‐designed interventions can be deployed to promote learning and improved decision making. The model helps the decision maker better understand and potentially influence ethical judgment because ethical decision making is conceived within the frame of bounded ethicality versus a less potent theory of intervention based upon espoused moral prescriptions.

Research limitations/implications

Some important influences on environmental sensemaking are not emphasized in the model to include dimensions of individual personality, early childhood experiences, gender, religious background, etc. Rather, the emphasis here is placed upon relatively ubiquitous cognitive heuristics and other cognitive phenomena likely to influence many organizational decision makers.

Originality/value

This analysis and resulting conceptual model should help change agents, students, policy makers and business practitioners avoid predictable biases and sensemaking distortions and, in so doing, improve the firm's social responsibility profile and recognition of emerging business opportunities growing out of sustainability imperatives.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2021

Chenghao Men, Weiwei Huo and Jing Wang

Despite workplace cheating behavior is common and costly, little research has explored its antecedents from customers' perspective. The current study aims to investigate…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite workplace cheating behavior is common and costly, little research has explored its antecedents from customers' perspective. The current study aims to investigate the indirect mechanisms between customer mistreatment and cheating behavior, and exam the moderated role of traditionality.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on conservation of resources theory, the authors examine how customer mistreatment affects workplace cheating behavior. They test their hypotheses using a time-lagged field study of 183 employees.

Findings

The results show that customer mistreatment is positively related to interpersonal conflict with customers, which positively affects workplace cheating behavior. Traditionality moderates the indirect effect of customer mistreatment on workplace cheating behavior.

Originality/value

This study calls for researchers' attention to exploring the antecedents of workplace cheating behavior from customers' perspective, and first provides empirical evidence on the relationship between customer mistreatment and workplace cheating behavior, which has never been examined.

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Personnel Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Yanfei Hu and Claus Rerup

This study examines how highly disruptive issues cause profound dissonance in societal members that are cognitively and emotionally invested in existing institutions. The…

Abstract

This study examines how highly disruptive issues cause profound dissonance in societal members that are cognitively and emotionally invested in existing institutions. The authors use PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) entrepreneurial advocacy for animal rights to show how this highly disruptive issue interrupted and violated taken-for-granted interpretations of institutions and institutional life. The authors compare 30 YouTube videos of PETA’s advocacy to explore pathways to effective sensegiving and sensemaking of highly disruptive issues. The findings augment the analytical synergy that exists between sensemaking and institutional analysis by unpacking the micro-level dynamics that may facilitate transformational institutional change.

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Microfoundations of Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-123-0

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2020

Shuang Ren and Doren Chadee

The widespread use of communication technologies and social media platforms such as the #ME TOO movement has amplified the importance for business leaders to demonstrate…

Abstract

Purpose

The widespread use of communication technologies and social media platforms such as the #ME TOO movement has amplified the importance for business leaders to demonstrate high standards of ethical behavior for career success. Although the concept of ethical leadership has been widely investigated, a theoretical framework from a career perspective does not yet exist.

Design/methodology/approach

This study draws from sensemaking theory to argue that career identity salience shapes leaders' communication behavior to influence the extent to which they are perceived to be ethical by subordinates. We test our hypotheses using multisource data with a sample (n = 337) of business managers.

Findings

The results show that career identity salience has positive influence on communication competence, which positively influences ethical leadership. We further find that communication frequency positively moderates the relationship between communication competence and ethical leadership.

Practical implications

The theoretical and practical implications that, motivated by their career identity, career-ambitious leaders can manipulate subordinates' perceptions of their ethical behavior are discussed along with suggestions for future research.

Originality/value

To our knowledge, this is the first research to provide a career perspective on ethical leadership.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 49 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Alia MILEDI

The purpose of this study is to explore the social and collective foundations of the auditor’s judgment and specifically highlights that the dialogical dimension of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the social and collective foundations of the auditor’s judgment and specifically highlights that the dialogical dimension of auditors’ judgment is founded on both their interactions with their auditees and their interactions with their colleagues.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study is based on interviews with 22 audit partners, conducted between March 2013 and October 2016, in France.

Findings

The research points out the complexity of auditor judgment. Confronted with issues such as equivocal and ambiguous circumstances, auditors must question the relevance of the meanings elaborated to act according to the situation (self-criticism or doubt) and must be wise and not be overconfident toward the information provided by the manager (wisdom). Last but not least, the findings also suggest that contrary advice helps auditors to improve an alternative point of view and hence reach a consensus.

Originality/value

The research uses a K. Weick sensemaking approach and contributes theoretically to gaining deeper understanding of the social dimension in audit judgment, by showing that professional judgment is an interactive and social practice.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

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