A Typology of Moral Problems in Business: A Framework for Ethical Management

Journal of Business Ethics 69 (2):133-147 (2006)

This paper develops a typology of moral problems in business. The cross-classification of two fundamental dimensions of ethical conduct: judgment and motivation, is employed to distinguish four types of moral problems: genuine dilemmas, compliance problems, moral laxity, and no-problem problems. Actual cases are brought to illustrate each type of problem, and corresponding coping strategies are presented. The paper highlights the need to design a dynamic strategy that will take into account the relationships among different types of ethical problems. In its capacities as both an analytical tool for identifying and clarifying an ethical problem and a strategic tool for handling it, the typology has direct implications for developing ethical awareness, assigning accountability, and unfolding typical rationalizations in business activity.
Keywords typology  ethical dilemmas  compliance  moral laxity  ethics institutionalization  moral awareness  accountability  rationalization
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-006-9072-y
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