Putting ethics on the agenda for real estate agents

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (1):65 - 82 (2009)
This article uses sociological role theory to help understand ethical challenges faced by Norwegian real estate agents. The article begins with an introductory case, and then briefly examines the strengths and limitations of using legal definitions and rules for understanding real estate agency and real estate agent ethics. It goes on to argue that the ethical challenges of real estate agency can be described and understood as a system of conflicting roles with associated rights and duties, in particular sales agent, intermediary and adviser sub-roles. The arguments are developed using exploratory findings from a survey of Norwegian real estate agents and from several focus groups. The article then suggests the use of various intranet tools as a kind of action research aimed at putting ethics on the real estate agents' agenda, working to develop a collective conscience and collective selfcriticism among the agents, and, in doing so, building bridges between academic research and the practical working world of the agents
Keywords real estate agents  professional ethics  law and ethics  role ethics  collective self-criticism  ethical climate development  empirical business ethics
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