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Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right, 6th Edition by Katherine A. Nelson, Linda K. Treviño

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CHAPTER 7

MANAGING FOR ETHICAL CONDUCT

INTRODUCTION

We talked (in Chapter 3) about how most employees look outside themselves (to leaders and others) for guidance about how to behave. We have also discussed ethical culture and how organizations, especially large ones, manage ethics and legal compliance. Within this broad organizational context, managers oversee employee behavior every day, and they can have enormous influence. Therefore managers need simple and practical tools for managing the ethical conduct of their direct reports in the context of the broader organizational culture—to be ethical leaders at their own organizational level. This chapter introduces some basic management concepts that provide a foundation for understanding how to lead in a way that increases the probability that employees will behave ethically. Consistent with the focus of the book, each section concludes with practical implications for managers. Underlying our recommendations to managers are three key assumptions:

  1. Managers want to be ethical.
  2. Managers want their subordinates to be ethical.
  3. Based on their experience, managers will have insight into the unique ethical requirements of the job.

IN BUSINESS, ETHICS IS ABOUT BEHAVIOR

In business, when people talk about ethics, they're talking about behavior. In this context, ethics isn't mysterious or unusual, nor does it depend on the individual's innate goodness, religious conviction, or philosophical understanding (or lack of these qualities). ...

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