The influence of stated organizational concern upon ethical decision making

Journal of Business Ethics 6 (4):297 - 307 (1987)
This experimental study evaluated the influence of stated organizational concern for ethical conduct upon managerial behavior. Using an in-basket to house the manipulation, a sample of 113 MBA students with some managerial experience reacted to scenarios suggesting illegal conduct and others suggesting only unethical behavior. Stated organizational concern for ethical conduct was varied from none (control group) to several other situations which included a high treatment consisting of a Code of Ethics, an endorsement letter by the CEO and specific sanctions for managerial misconduct. Only in the case of suggested illegal behavior tempered by high organizational concern were managers influenced by organizational policy to modify the morality of their actions. However, the responses to the illegal scenarios were significantly more ethical than the reactions given to the unethical (but not illegal) situations. The implications of these findings are then discussed.
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