A network sample of 162 employees from across the U.S. was studied to assess the relationship between individual spirituality and perceptions of unethical business activities. Analyses indicate that degree of individual spirituality influences whether an individual perceives a questionable business practice as ethical or unethical. Ramifications of these findings regarding the role of spirituality in enhancing workplace ethicality, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Growing interest in workplace spirituality has led to the development of a new paradigm in organizational science. Theoretical assumptions abound as to how workplace spirituality might enhance organizational performance, most postulating a significant positive impact. Here, that body of research has been reviewed and analyzed, and a resultant values framework for workplace spirituality is introduced, providing the groundwork for empirical testing. A discussion of the factors and assumptions involved for future research are outlined.
Spiritual values in the workplace, increasingly discussed and applied in the business ethics literature, can be viewed from an individual, organizational, or interactive perspective. The following study examined previously unexplored workplace spirituality outcomes. Using data collected from five samples consisting of full-time workers taking graduate coursework, results indicated that perceptions of organizational-level spirituality (“organizational spirituality”) appear to matter most to attitudinal and attachment-related outcomes. Specifically, organizational spirituality was found to be positively related to job involvement, organizational identification, and work rewards (...) satisfaction, and negatively related to organizational frustration. Personal spirituality was positively related to intrinsic, extrinsic, and total work rewards satisfaction. The interaction of personal spirituality and organizational spirituality was found related to total work rewards satisfaction. Future workplace spirituality research directions are discussed. (shrink)
Previous research on unethical business behavior usually has focused on its impact from a financial or philosophical perspective. While such foci are important to our understanding of unethical behavior, we argue that another set of outcomes linked to individual well-being are critical as well. Using data from psychological, criminological, and epidemiological sources, we propose a model of unethical behavior and well-being. This model postulates that decrements in well-being result from stress or trauma stemming from being victimized by, engaging in, or (...) witnessing unethical behavior, or even from being associated with individuals involved in such behavior. (shrink)
Ethical ideology is predicted to play a role in the occurrence of workplace deviance. Forsyths (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire measures two dimensions of ethical ideology: idealism and relativism. It is hypothesized that idealism will be negatively correlated with employee deviance while relativism will be positively related. Further, it is predicted that idealism and relativism will interact in such a way that there will only be a relationship between idealism and deviance when relativism is higher. Results supported the hypothesized correlations and (...) idealism and relativism interacted to predict organizational deviance. Idealism was a significant predictor of interpersonal deviance, but no interaction was found. (shrink)
This paper presents a cross-cultural analysis of ethics with U.S. and Hong Kong Chinese managers as subjects. These managers were given the Strategies of Upward Influence instrument and asked to evaluate the ethics of using various political strategies to attain influence within their organizations. Differences were found between Hong Kong and U.S. managers on a variety of dimensions, indicating important differences between these two groups on their perceptions of ethical behavior. In the paper, we identify potential reasons for the findings, (...) and suggest directions for future work in this area. (shrink)
This article examines selected behavioral aspects of ethical decision making within a business context. Three categories of antecedents to ethical decision behaviors (individual differences, interpersonal variables, and organizational variables) are examined and propositions are offered. Moral development theory and expectancy theory are then explored as possible bases for a theory of ethical decision making. Finally, means of improving ethical decision making in firms are explored.
While information technologies present organizations with opportunities to become more competitive, unsettled social norms and lagging legislation guiding the use of these technologies present organizations and individuals with ethical dilemmas. This paper presents two studies investigating the relationship between intellectual property and privacy attitudes, Machiavellianism and Ethical Ideology, and working in R&D and computer literacy in the form of programming experience. In Study 1, Machiavellians believed it was more acceptable to ignore the intellectual property and privacy rights of others. Programmers (...) and R&D workers considered violating intellectual property rights more acceptable. Programmers did not consider violating privacy rights more acceptable, but R&D workers did. Finally, there was an interaction between Machiavellianism, programming and R&D. Machiavellians who also had programming experience or worked in R&D found violations of intellectual property much more acceptable. The effect of Machiavellianism on attitudes toward violations of privacy was enhanced by working in R&D, but not by programming experience. In Study 2, idealists believed it was less acceptable to ignore the intellectual property and privacy rights of others. Relativists found it more acceptable to violate intellectual property rights, though they did not consider it more acceptable to violate privacy rights. Those with programming experience were more accepting of intellectual property rights violations, but not of privacy violations. Finally, programming experience moderated the relationship between idealism, relativism and attitudes toward these unethical information practices. Implications for diminishing unethical behavior among Machiavellians, Relativists, programmers and those in R&D are discussed. (shrink)
If students are to understand ethical problems at work, practical applications are essential in translating classroom learning into real world knowledge. This article describes the ethical complaint letter as one pedagogical approach for MBA students to understanding real world ethical situations. Students write an objective, fact-filled complaint letter to an organization that has behaved in an unethical manner toward them. A specific assignment protocol is presented for the students and for discussing organizational responses in class. Finally, an examination of expected (...) outcomes, cautions, and learning opportunities is detailed. (shrink)
Research on positive psychology demonstrates that specific individual dispositions are associated with more desirable outcomes. The relationship of positive psychological constructs, however, has not been applied to the areas of business ethics and social responsibility. Using four constructs in two independent studies (hope and gratitude in Study 1, spirituality and generativity in Study 2), the relationship of these constructs to sensitivity to corporate social performance (CSCSP) were assessed. Results indicate that all four constructs significantly predicted CSCSP, though only hope and (...) gratitude interacted to impact CSCSP. Discussion focuses upon these findings, limitations of the study, and future avenues for research. (shrink)
A longitudinal study of 308 white -collar U.S. employees revealed that feelings of hope and gratitude increase concern for corporate social responsibility. In particular, employees with stronger hope and gratitude were found to have a greater sense of responsibility toward employee and societal issues; interestingly, employee hope and gratitude did not affect sense of responsibility toward economic and safety/quality issues. These findings offer an extension of research by Giacalone, Paul, and Jurkiewicz.
Prior research has studied the antecedents of beliefs regarding ethics and social responsibility (ESR). However, few studies have examined how individual well-being may be related to such beliefs. In this exploratory study, we assessed the relationship between perceived importance of ESR – both individually and of one's company – and indicators of physical and psychological well-being. Results demonstrated that perceived importance of ESR was associated with three aspects of well-being: exuberance for life, sleep problems, and job stress. The results are (...) discussed in terms of future directions for research, and the need for a conceptual framework connecting individual and organizational perceptions of ESR and outcomes of well-being. (shrink)
Management and non-management employees of a northeastern bank read a description of a manager who engaged in a breach of confidentiality. Subjects were asked to evaluate the acceptability of 27 excuses. Results showed that subjects' ratings of acceptability were affected by their individual perception of the severity of the stimulus manager's breach of confidentiality. Subjects' rank did not affect acceptability of accounts.
The study sought to determine whether impression management tactics by an employee could effectively lessen the recommended punishment for an ethical rule infraction by this individual. Subjects read a vignette in which an employee violated the confidentiality of personnel records. The employee was presented as either having had a history of previous infractions or no such historical information was provided. Additionally, the employee was described as using either no impression management tactics, an apology, or a justification for his behavior. Result (...) show that in the case of a history of multiple offenses, the employee''s use of justifications effectively mitigated others'' judgments of the wrongfulness of the employee''s action, while apologies did not. Similarly, the justification appeared to lessen respondent recommendations for punishment, prevention of promotion, and demotion/firing, but only when there is a history of multiple offenses. In most cases, apologies tended to exacerbate the problem when previous offenses had been committed. The data are discussed in terms of their implications for the study of employee use of impression management tactics. (shrink)
Although organizations can derive competitive advantage from developing and implementing information systems, they are confronted with a rising number of unethical information practices. Because end-users and computer experts are the conduit to an ethical organizational environment, their intention to report unethical IT-related practices plays a critical role in protecting intellectual property and privacy rights. Using the survey methodology, this article investigates the relationship between willingness to report intellectual property and privacy violations and Machiavellianism, gender and computer literacy in the form (...) of programming experience. We found that gender and computer expertise interact with Machiavellianism to influence individuals’ intention of reporting unethical IT practices. This study helps us to improve our understanding of the emergent ethical issues existing in the IT-enabled decision environment. (shrink)
The past decade has seen an increasing number of critiques of business schools and the education they provide, particularly at the MBA level. In this paper, we summarize the limitations of a minimalist approach to business ethics education and then provide a new direction that enlarges its scope and reframes its educational goals, course content, and analytical methods to inculcate higher-order aspirations among students. We propose that the outcome of business ethics education should be a desire among students to use (...) business to enhance the well-being of all stakeholders, repair damage done to the economy, society, and the environment, and leave the world better than they found it. (shrink)
The present study sought to determine the extent to which individuals'' ethical ideologies, as measured by Forsyth''s (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ), impacted the degree of punishment they advocated for differing ethical infractions, as well as their selection of non-ethics related variables that might be used to modify judgments of disciplinary action. The data revealed that individual ideology does impact both advocated punishment and choice of non-ethics related variables, but only in some measures. The data are discussed in terms of (...) potential moderating variables that could be examined in future studies. (shrink)
The role that personality plays in the justification of organizational sabotage behavior was examined. In a two phase study, 120 business students were first surveyed to create a list of 51 methods of sabotage. In the second phase, 274 other business students rated justifiability of the 51 methods and completed Machiavellian and hostility scales. A factor analysis of the justification ratings yielded four factors: (1) methods of sabotaging company profits and production, (2) informational sabotage, (3) violent and illegal methods, and (...) (4) traditional labor methods of sabotage. A 2 (high versus low Machiavellianism) ×2 (high versus low hostility) ANOVA upon factor scores for justifiability revealed significant main effects for hostility and significant interactive effects on Factors 1 and 2. Results were discussed in terms of differences in management and blue collar methods of sabotage and in terms of a self-presentational approach to justification of sabotage. (shrink)
Profound and wide-ranging values shifts among industrialized nations, first noted following World War II and measured on an ongoing basis since, have affected individual decision making in political, social, and institutional settings across the globe. Consequently, the adoption of this set of expansive values is having pronounced and measurable effects on organizational missions, standards, and activities. This change is particularly notable in terms of accountability practices, moral responsibility, and the distinction between ethical and unethical decision making. This article documents this (...) change, the need for a recalibration of ethical standards, and the principalization of a new organizational values order. Future research on the implications of adopting expansive values in organizations is delineated. (shrink)
In discussing the $1 trillion bailout of the U.S. Financial Institutions, virtually every Member of Congress and almost every government official—including Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Obama—has blamed the crisis on the “greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street”. Almost all of the financial executives involved in the crisis, from CEOs to middle managers, are products of our business schools. Additionally, there is a high correlation between the recentunethical behavior of a number of multinational corporations and the number of MBA (...) holders in their top ranks. As a consequence, many critics are convinced that there is something wrong with our business schools. This paper presents the causes and consequences of what ails business school students and graduates today: the toxic teaching of bad management theories. These theories—grounded in the assumptions of economics—include determinism and materialism, the cult of profit maximization and a pessimistic view of human nature as totally self-interested. By teaching these theories, business schools are inculcating values of materialism and greed that create a life-long pursuit of money and status. This makes it all too easy for business managers to choose expediency and short-term profits over ethical behavior. Further, these materialistic values create higher levels of depression, anxiety and psychological disorders as well as make our students less cooperative and more anti-social as individuals long after they leave academia. (shrink)
The present paper describes a number of ethical quandaries facing the implementors of motivational interventions in organizational settings. A critical analysis of the traditional solutions to these issues within the organizational literature finds them lacking for want of considering unwitting cognitive biases and self presentational doublespeak, both of which may result in the rights of research participants being underprotected. The establishment of an Institutional Review process, loosely analogized from the biomedical and behavioral science research traditions, is suggested as a means (...) of protecting the rights of research participants as well as humanizing future motivational interventions. (shrink)
The collusive relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and the lumber industry substantially harms the public interest, and inspires Congressional clearcutting and stumping policies. An anthropocentric1 (or homocentric) culture milieu fosters destruction of America''s old growth forests which results in ethically-relevant questions. It is proposed that corporate moral responsibility be extended to indirect stakeholders and that a transcendent environmental ethic, biocentrism2 (or deep ecology), oblige management to expand the sphere of external stakeholders to include environment objects such as animals, trees, (...) and biotic communities. (shrink)
Although the use of arbitration has become commonplace in the organizational world, the ethical issues surrounding arbitration have never been fully explored. The paper reviews ethical issues in arbitration, particularly in terms of forensic bias parallels, that may affect decision-making and make the arbitrator''s decision questionable. Finally, the maintenance of fairness in the arbitration process, and the importance of an ethically acceptable system of organizational justice are also discussed.