Ethical Versus Unethical Behavior

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 4 (1178 words) Published: December 27, 2009
Ethical versus Unethical Behavior
Carlos Mercado
University of Phoenix
MGT 344
November 17, 2007

Ethical versus Unethical Behavior

Companies establish ethics policies as a way to identify expectations of workers and to offer guidance on handling common ethical problems that might arise in the course of doing business. For an organization to determine whether a behavior is ethical or unethical, the terms must be defined. The term ethical behavior refers to how an organization ensures that all its decisions, actions, and stakeholder interactions conform to the organization’s moral and professional principles; where as, unethical behaviors are considered when the actions of employees are not conforming to social or professional standards. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to explain what factors determine whether behavior in organizations is ethical or unethical.

Factors that Determine Unethical Behavior

In today’s business environment, pressure and stress to accomplish higher goals in a tighter time frame can cause companies to slip into unethical decisions and behaviors. According to a global survey commissioned by the American Management Association – which included over 1,000 managers and human resource experts, the number one factor that is likely to cause unethical corporate behavior is business objectives and deadlines (Schwartz, 2006). Other factors such as furthering one’s career and protecting one’s livelihood rank second and third, respectively in creating an atmosphere where unethical behavior can occur (Schwartz, 2006). Some additional factors that lead to unethical behavior is having to work in an environment with cynical people or an atmosphere of diminished morale; improper training; and no consequences when caught. These factors are followed by the need to follow orders, peer pressure, desire to steal from or harm the organization, and paradoxically, wanting to help the organization survive (Schwartz,...

References: A Framework for Thinking Ethically. (2007). Retrieved November 15, 2007 from:

Fiorelli, P. (1992). Fine Reductions Through Effective Ethics Programs: 56 Albany
L.REV 403,407: U.S..Sentencing Commission, 2004 Blog (2006). Retrieved November 18, 2007 from:
Schwartz, A. (June, 2006). Likely causes of corporate unethical behavior.
Retrieved November 13, 2007 from:
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