Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (2):297-323 (2007)

Abstract
Although business ethicists have theorized frequently about the virtues and vices of employee loyalty, the concept of loyalty remainsloosely defined. In this article, we argue that viewing loyalty as a cognitive phenomenon—an attitude that resides in the mind of theindividual—helps to clarify definitional inconsistencies, provides a finer-grained analysis of the concept, and sheds additional light on theethical implications of loyalty in organizations. Specifically, we adopt the psychological contract perspective to analyze loyalty’s cognitivedimensions, and treat loyalty as an individual-level construction of perceived reciprocal obligations. Based upon this perspective, we present a three-tiered framework of loyalty that provides a psychologically informed definition of the concept, specifies the variety of obligation types that loyalty can imply, and anticipates the potential for asymmetrical loyalty configurations between employers and employees. We use the framework to articulate moral issues associated with both symmetrical and asymmetrical loyalty configurations and discuss the implications of the framework for theory and practice
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq200717233
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Does It Make Sense to Be a Loyal Employee?Juan M. Elegido - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 116 (3):495-511.
The Ethics of Lateral Hiring.David Hart - 2010 - Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (3):341-369.

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