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Article

Tracey Bretag

Academic integrity is an interdisciplinary concept that provides the foundation for every aspect and all levels of education. The term evokes strong emotions in teachers, researchers, and students—not least because it is usually associated with negative behaviors. When considering academic integrity, the discussion tends to revolve around cheating, plagiarism, dishonesty, fraud, and other academic malpractice and how best to prevent these behaviors. A more productive approach entails a focus on promoting the positive values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage (International Center for Academic Integrity, 2013) as the intrinsically motivated drivers for ethical academic practice. Academic integrity is much more than “a student issue” and requires commitment from all stakeholders in the academic community, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers, established researchers, senior managers, policymakers, support staff, and administrators.

Article

Thomas Donaldson and Diana C. Robertson

Serious research into corporate ethics is nearly half a century old. Two approaches have dominated research; one is normative, the other empirical. The former, the normative approach, develops theories and norms that are prescriptive, that is, ones that are designed to guide corporate behavior. The latter, the empirical approach, investigates the character and causes of corporate behavior by examining corporate governance structures, policies, corporate relationships, and managerial behavior with the aim of explaining and predicting corporate behavior. Normative research has been led by scholars in the fields of moral philosophy, theology and legal theory. Empirical research has been led by scholars in the fields of sociology, psychology, economics, marketing, finance, and management. While utilizing distinct methods, the two approaches are symbiotic. Ethical and legal theory are irrelevant without factual context. Similarly, empirical theories are sterile unless translated into corporate guidance. The following description of the history of research in corporate ethics demonstrates that normative research methods are indispensable tools for empirical inquiry, even as empirical methods are indispensable tools for normative inquiry.

Article

Steven G. Koven and Abby Perez

Corruption remains a way of life for many cultures and subcultures, an ethos that is often consistent with the goal of corporate profit maximization. Corruption may yield benefits at the personal or individual firm level, but at the societal level corruption is detrimental to aggregate growth, individual effort, and faith in institutions. Corruption, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. Corruption exists on a continuum that can range from rampant to minimal. Rampant corruption exists when entire organizations willingly and knowingly promote actions that are injurious to workers, consumers, or society as a whole. Egregious examples include knowingly producing and selling harmful products or ignoring conditions that impair the health and safety of workers. At the other extreme, minimal corruption can include petty violations such as stealing a small amount of office supplies for personal use. Moral, ethical, and legal guides have evolved over time in efforts to ameliorate the most obvious and egregious forms of corruption. These guides are supported by perspectives of philosophy such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, intuition, and ethical relativism. Each of these perspectives represent an important and qualitatively different lens in which to assess ethical behavior. While some philosophical viewpoints emphasize the categorical nature of right or wrong action, others emphasize context, net benefits of actions, or individual virtue reflected in individual actions, and perspectives that are systematically reviewed. Philosophical influences are viewed as highly relevant to an understanding of modern-day corruption. Business ethics is also influenced by various competitive and complementary models that compete for influence. While the market model of business ethics has long endured, alternative perspectives of business ethics such as the stakeholder model of corporate social responsibility and the sustainability model have recently arisen in popular discourse and are explored. These alternative models seek to replace or supplement the market model and advocate for a greater recognition of environmental responsibilities as well as responsibilities to a broad array of stakeholders in society such as workers and consumers. Alternative models move beyond the narrow perspective of profit maximization and consider ethical implications of business decisions in terms of their effects on others in society as well as future generations. Various philosophical perspectives of ethics are examined, as well as how these perspectives can be applied to attain a more complete understanding of the concept of corruption.

Article

Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is a rehearsal and case-based approach to business ethics education that is designed to develop moral competence and that emphasizes self-assessment, peer coaching and prescriptive ethics. It is built on the premise that many businesspeople want to act on their values but lack the know-how and experience for doing so. The focus is on action rather than developing ethical awareness or analytical constructs for determining what is right and the epistemology behind knowing that it is right, while acknowledging that existing and well-established approaches to these questions are also important. The GVV rubric for acting on one’s values is based upon the following three questions: (1) What’s at stake? (2) What are the reasons and rationalizations you are trying to counter? and (3) What levers can be used to influence those who disagree? Taken together, the answers to these questions constitute a script for constructing a persuasive argument for effecting values-based change and an action plan for implementation. This approach is based on the idea, supported by research and experience, that pre-scripting and “rehearsal” can encourage action. GVV is meant to be complementary to traditional approaches to business ethics that focus on the methodology of moral judgment. GVV cases are post-decision-making in that they begin with a presumed right answer and students are invited to engage in the “GVV Thought Experiment,” answering the questions: “What if you were going to act on this values-based position? How could you be effective?” This implies a shift in focus towards values-based action in ways that recognize the pressures of the business world. As a consequence of this shift, GVV addresses fundamental questions about what, to whom, and how business ethics is taught. The answers to these questions have led to widespread adoption of GVV in business schools, universities, corporations, and beyond.

Article

Instrumental stakeholder theory posits that managing for stakeholders using justice-based approaches produces competitive advantage for firms. However, achieving the ideals of stakeholder management may be challenging, and for some firms, unrewarding. Yet, when firms fail to manage for stakeholders, they contribute to stakeholder marginalization, a condition in which stakeholders feel unfairly treated and begin to scan for alternative arrangements with other firms. Stakeholder marginalization creates opportunities for competitors, but especially for new entrants, to pursue stakeholder innovation. Stakeholder innovation involves the creation of a business model that caters to marginalized stakeholder groups in a new way, by improving perceived conditions for those stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, or communities). Stakeholder innovations can threaten incumbencies as their ecosystems bloom and technologies improve, and they can start to draw a greater variety of resources away from incumbent networks. Because it can help to explain and predict both incumbent and new entrant behaviors, stakeholder capitalism is a useful frame for theorizing in the disciplines of management and entrepreneurship.

Article

Armin Pircher Verdorfer, Martin Fladerer, and Clarissa Zwarg

While traditional approaches have described ethical decision-making in organizations mainly as being the result of rational deliberative thought, a steadily growing body of research indicates that moral decision-making is strongly influenced by moral intuitions and emotions. The moral intuition approach typically has two aspects: the process through which moral intuitions emerge and their content. With regard to the process, moral intuitions represent fast, automatic, evaluative reactions that are emotionally charged. An important tenet of moral intuition research refers to the primacy of intuition—the notion that moral intuitions generally drive moral decision-making. Accordingly, moral intuitions are described as starting points for rational reflection processes that follow later. On this basis, it has also been argued that the interplay of moral intuition and deliberation is malleable. Specifically, the well-formed moral intuitions of experts are thought to differ from the naive moral intuitions of novices. With increasing experience and reflection about the moral issues in one’s experiences, deliberation increasingly enables individuals to shift between intuitions and reasoning and to monitor, test, weigh, and reject both intuitions and reasons. The content of moral intuition refers to the foundations of morality, which are the underlying moral domain, specifying what individuals view as morally right or wrong. The most commonly referenced account in this field, Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), argues that moral intuitions are a function of evolutionarily developed, innate predispositions to master multiple social problems that interact with social and cultural influences. These predispositions, or moral foundations, include care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. While empirical work on the role of moral intuition in organizations is still at an early stage, several areas have been identified that may particularly benefit from integrating moral intuition process and content. For instance, the moral intuition perspective can aid the understanding and prevention of processes through which unethical behaviors and practices, such as corruption, may be justified and normalized in organizations. Furthermore, the moral intuition perspective is increasingly used to study the moral leadership process, most notably the link between leader moral foundations and moral leader behaviors, as well as the role of (mis)fit between leader and follower moral foundations. Moral emotions are an inherent element of the moral intuition process and refer to the welfare of others and the promotion of a functioning society. It is thought that individuals experience moral emotions when they or others have violated moral standards. These emotions build the motivational force for moral action and are often placed in five clusters: other‐praising (e.g., gratitude), other‐suffering (e.g., sympathy), other‐condemning (e.g., contempt), self‐condemning (e.g., guilt), and self-approving (e.g., moral pride) moral emotions.

Article

Howard Harris

Organizational happiness is an intuitively attractive idea, notwithstanding the difficulty of defining happiness. A preference for unhappiness rather than happiness in an organization would be out of tune with community expectations in most societies, as would an organization that promoted unhappiness. Some argue that organizational happiness is a misconception, that happiness is a personality trait and organizations cannot have personality. Others suggest that organizational happiness is derived from, or at least dependent on, the happiness of the individuals in the organization. A third approach involves virtue ethics, linking organizational happiness to virtuous organizations. Some discussion of the nature of happiness is needed before consideration of these three approaches to the concept of organizational happiness. If one leaves aside the notion of happiness as a psychological state, there remain three main views as to the nature of happiness: one based on a hedonistic view, which grounds happiness in pleasure, one based on the extent to which desire is satisfied, and one where happiness is linked to a life of virtuous activity and the fulfillment of human potential. Some would see no distinction between all three senses of happiness and what is called well-being. Whether or not organizations can experience happiness is to some extent determined by whether happiness is considered subjective well-being, fulfilled desire, or virtue and to some extent by one’s view of the moral nature of corporations. There are dangers in the unfettered pursuit of happiness. Empirical research is impacted by questions of definition, by changes over time for both individuals and society, and by the difficulty that arises from reliance on self-reported data. Recent decades have seen the publication of quantitative assessments of organizational happiness, despite the difficulty of constructing scales and manipulating data, and the problems of effectively taking into account cultural, organizational, and individual differences in concepts of happiness. Potential research questions fall into two groups, those that seek a better understanding of what happiness is and those that seek to collect data about happiness in pursuit of answers to questions about the benefits of happiness.

Article

Qualitative research designs provide future-oriented plans for undertaking research. Designs should describe how to effectively address and answer a specific research question using qualitative data and qualitative analysis techniques. Designs connect research objectives to observations, data, methods, interpretations, and research outcomes. Qualitative research designs focus initially on collecting data to provide a naturalistic view of social phenomena and understand the meaning the social world holds from the point of view of social actors in real settings. The outcomes of qualitative research designs are situated narratives of peoples’ activities in real settings, reasoned explanations of behavior, discoveries of new phenomena, and creating and testing of theories. A three-level framework can be used to describe the layers of qualitative research design and conceptualize its multifaceted nature. Note, however, that qualitative research is a flexible and not fixed process, unlike conventional positivist research designs that are unchanged after data collection commences. Flexibility provides qualitative research with the capacity to alter foci during the research process and make new and emerging discoveries. The first or methods layer of the research design process uses social science methods to rigorously describe organizational phenomena and provide evidence that is useful for explaining phenomena and developing theory. Description is done using empirical research methods for data collection including case studies, interviews, participant observation, ethnography, and collection of texts, records, and documents. The second or methodological layer of research design offers three formal logical strategies to analyze data and address research questions: (a) induction to answer descriptive “what” questions; (b) deduction and hypothesis testing to address theory oriented “why” questions; and (c) abduction to understand questions about what, how, and why phenomena occur. The third or social science paradigm layer of research design is formed by broad social science traditions and approaches that reflect distinct theoretical epistemologies—theories of knowledge—and diverse empirical research practices. These perspectives include positivism, interpretive induction, and interpretive abduction (interpretive science). There are also scholarly research perspectives that reflect on and challenge or seek to change management thinking and practice, rather than producing rigorous empirical research or evidence based findings. These perspectives include critical research, postmodern research, and organization development. Three additional issues are important to future qualitative research designs. First, there is renewed interest in the value of covert research undertaken without the informed consent of participants. Second, there is an ongoing discussion of the best style to use for reporting qualitative research. Third, there are new ways to integrate qualitative and quantitative data. These are needed to better address the interplay of qualitative and quantitative phenomena that are both found in everyday discourse, a phenomenon that has been overlooked.

Article

Trust is a relatively complex psychological state that arises in relationships characterized by dependence and risk. It has both cognitive and emotional elements that can be linked to certain actions made by parties involved in exchange relationships. The relationships of interest include some level of uncertainty, both about the motives and future actions of other parties and about the potential outcomes of engaging in cooperative behavior with those parties. Each party involved in an exchange relationship has a certain propensity to trust, a baseline shaped by various factors including previous relationships. An individual’s propensity to trust is viewed to be relatively stable over time and is most important in the earliest stages of a relationship when a leap of faith is required to enter the relationship because firsthand evidence about the other party is scant. During a relationship, a party’s propensity to trust serves as a filter through which the other party’s actions are judged. A party’s trustworthiness is shaped by views on the degree to which the potential trustee has (a) an ability to fulfill its duties, (b) a sincere concern about the welfare of the trusting party and a willingness to sacrifice its own outcomes, and (c) a commitment to abide by prevailing ethical norms. The relative importance of each component—ability, benevolence, and integrity—is likely to change over the course of a relationship. Trust may exist between two individuals in a dyad, among several individuals in a work group, between an individual and a firm, and between one organization and another. The last of these categories has been described as interorganizational trust, an important component in the relationships between firms and their stakeholders. When trust exists between firms, formal governance mechanisms, such as contracts and monitoring systems, will be less necessary, reducing transaction costs in the relationship. At the interpersonal level, trust in a relationship has been tied to many positive outcomes, including greater sharing of more accurate information and more frequent displays of organizational citizenship behavior. It has also shown a connection to higher levels of job satisfaction, creativity, cooperation, and productivity. When trust in leaders is higher, subordinates’ intention to quit is lower.

Article

Jason Kautz, M. Audrey Korsgaard, and Sophia So Young Jeong

Organizations and their agents regularly face ethical challenges as the interests of various constituents compete and conflict. The theory of other-orientation provides a useful framework for understanding how other concerns and modes of reasoning combined to produce different mindsets for approaching ethical challenges. To optimize outcomes across parties, individuals can engage in complex rational reasoning that addresses the interests of the self as well as others, a mindset referred to as collective rationality. But collective rationality is as difficult to sustain as it is cognitively taxing. Thus, individuals are apt to simplify their approach to complex conflicts of interest. One simplifying strategy is to reduce the relevant outcome set by focusing on self-interests to the neglect of other-interest. This approach, referred to as a rational self-interest mindset, is self-serving and can lead to actions that are deemed unethical. At the other extreme, individuals can abandon rational judgment in favor of choices based on heuristics, such as moral values that specify a given mode of prosocial behavior. Because this mindset, referred to as other-oriented, obviates consideration of outcome for the self and other, it can result in choices that harm the self as well as other possible organizational stakeholders. This raises the question: how does one maintain an other-interested focus while engaging in rational reasoning? The resolution of this question rests in the arousal of moral emotions. Moral emotions signal to the individual the opportunity to express, or the need to uphold, moral values. Given that moral values direct behavior that benefits others or society, they offset the tendency to focus on self-interest. At extreme levels of arousal, however, moral emotions may overwhelm cognitive resources and thus influence individuals to engage in heuristic rather than rational reasoning. The effect of moral emotions is bounded by attendant emotions, as individuals are likely to experience multiple hedonic and moral emotions in the same situation. Deontic justice predicts that the arousal of moral emotions will lead individuals to retaliate in response to injustice, regardless of whether they experience personal benefit. However, evidence suggests that individuals may instead engage in self-protecting behavior, such as withdrawal, or self-serving behaviors, such as the contagion of unjust behavior. These alternative responses may be due to strong hedonic emotions, such as fear or schadenfreude, the pleasure derived from others’ misfortunes, overpowering one’s moral emotions. Future research regarding the arousal levels of moral emotions and the complex interplay of emotions in the decision-making process may provide beneficial insight into managing the competing interests of organizational stakeholders.

Article

Niamh M. Brennan

Whistleblowing (also called good faith reporting, anonymous reporting, protected disclosure) is growing in importance as a corporate governance mechanism. It is increasingly recognized as a key internal control mechanism. Whistleblowing is a term used to describe an act whereby wrongdoing is exposed. It gained impetus following the collapse of Enron in 2001 arising from financial reporting fraud, which culminated in the U.S. Time magazine selecting three whistleblowers (all women) as its person of the year in 2002. The term was first used in 1966. Researchers have invoked a variety of theories and models attempting to explain whistleblowing. Elements that influence the process include the whistleblowers, the type of wrongdoing, the wrongdoers, the decision to blow the whistle, whistleblowing recipients, organizational factors, and finally the consequences of whistleblowing. Organizational processes, alternative to the more extreme step of whistleblowing, include silence (the other side of the coin to whistleblowing), speaking up, and open disclosure. An organizational response resisting an employee speaking up is the trigger that creates a whistleblower. The definition of whistleblowing only includes organizational members. Should it be extended to include external parties as well as organizational members? Social media has had an impact on whistleblowing. Questions remain as to the efficacy of whistleblowing: Is it a substantive or symbolic mechanism of governance?

Article

Truthfulness and accuracy are critical for effective organizational functioning, but dishonesty (in the form of lying, misrepresentation, and fraud) continue to be pervasive in organizational life. Workplace dishonesty is an inherently unique behavior that should be distinguished from broader categories of unethical workplace behavior and organizational deviance, in that dishonesty is an overt social behavior—that is, requiring an audience to exist as a behavior. Compared to stealing or cheating, dishonest acts require knowing fabrication of false information, intended to deceive an anticipated audience. Thus, considering the overt social aspect of dishonesty (compared to the relatively clandestine behaviors of cheating and stealing) may add conceptual clarity to the construct of workplace dishonesty, which is surprisingly absent from extant literature. The potential audience for dishonest acts in the workplace is notably critical, in that dishonest organizational actors generally anticipate characteristics of the audience (in terms of relationship closeness, as well as expertise and motivation to evaluate the claim) and likely adapt and tailor their dishonesty accordingly. Historically two underlying paradigms have been used to study workplace dishonesty: the rational actor (economic) paradigm and the behavioral ethics (psychological) paradigm, but an emerging and nascent third paradigm (the social actor paradigm) may offer new opportunities for understanding antecedents of workplace dishonesty that do not occur exclusively for self-interested reasons. This novel paradigm suggests here important areas of inquiry related to the aftermath of workplace dishonesty: when will workplace dishonesty be detected in social interactions; what are the social and relational consequences of discovering dishonesty; how are dishonest actors likely to behave in the aftermath of their dishonest actions. Finally, two varying discrepancies relevant to workplace dishonesty should accordingly be considered when predicting subsequent behavior of the dishonest actor: the magnitude of the discrepancy between the truth and the fabrication, and the temporal discrepancy between the trigger event and dishonest act.

Article

Ivana Vranjes and Zhanna Lyubykh

Workplace mistreatment researchers study negative interpersonal behaviors under a plethora of different labels, including incivility, bullying, harassment, aggression, and violence. While negative interpersonal behaviors differ in their intensity, intent, and frequency, a common denominator of these behaviors is their adverse impact on employees and organizations. Research has identified the nomological network of workplace mistreatment, which illustrates individual and contextual factors associated with mistreatment behaviors. Authors have also highlighted outcomes of mistreatment, showing that mistreatment results in reduced psychological and physical health, worsened job attitudes, and diminished performance for both targets and bystanders. Further, enacted mistreatment is not without consequences for the perpetrators, and these consequences can be both negative and positive. While workplace mistreatment research has been steadily growing, many questions remain unanswered. There are unexplored topics, approaches, and methodologies. First, there is a need to understand the uniqueness and similarities of different mistreatment constructs to provide a more comprehensive approach for studying workplace mistreatment and highlight alternative ways of measuring mistreatment constructs. Novel methodological approaches, such as HotMap and artificial intelligence, could shed light on the dynamics between targets and perpetrators of mistreatment, allowing researchers to capture the dynamic nature of mistreatment behaviors. Second, the interactions among societal, cultural, and interpersonal factors are likely to shape enacted mistreatment. For instance, social networks within organizations and the interrelations between employees are likely to influence not only the individual who becomes targeted, but also the way in which bystanders are to take action against such mistreatment. Third, while the role of bystanders in the dynamics of workplace mistreatment is undoubtedly important, there is a need to critically investigate the role bystanders may play in curtailing or encouraging mistreatment. More specifically, bystander interventions can take both constructive and destructive forms. Finally, targets’ responses to experienced mistreatment are likely to be relevant to the understanding of the dyadic nature of workplace mistreatment, such that an aggressive target response is likely to cause a mistreatment spiraling. However, it remains unclear what type of target response, if any, would be beneficial in helping de-escalate destructive behavior from the perpetrator. Thus, more research is needed to help address the important question of the best ways to deal with experienced mistreatment.