moral Agents in Organisations? The Significance of Ethical Organisation Culture for Middle Managers’ Exercise of Moral Agency in Ethical Problems

Journal of Business Ethics 155 (1):147-161 (2019)

Abstract
This paper investigates qualitatively the significance of different dimensions of ethical organisation culture for the exercise of middle managers’ moral agency in ethical problems. The research draws on the social cognitive theory of morality and on the corporate ethical virtues model. This study broadens understanding of the factors which enable or constrain managers’ potential for moral agency in organisations, and shows that an insufficient ethical organisational culture may contribute to indifference towards ethical issues, the experiencing of moral conflicts, lack of self-efficacy and morally disengaged reasoning. In contrast, a healthy ethical culture can contribute to motivation to tackle ethical problems, an increased capacity for self-regulation and ultimately ethical behaviour.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-017-3511-9
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