Ethics: A Little Background

Some common attitudes regarding ethics and reasons given to justify unethical behavior in organizations include:

  • pretending that an act is not really unethical

  • excusing an action by saying it is in the organization's best interest

  • assuming the behavior is okay if no one finds out about it

  • expecting a supervisor to support and protect the wrongdoing.

J. Joseph and E. Esen's study SHRM/Ethics Resource Center 2003 Business Ethics Survey indicates that the major reasons employees in organizations report they engage in unethical behavior are:

  • to meet organizational goals and schedules

  • to help the company survive

  • to comply with a management directive.

Several of these reasons imply misunderstandings about ethics and what ethics ...

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