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Discussion: Impediments To Ethical Decision Making

Discussion: Impediments To Ethical Decision Making

Over the past several decades, there have been reports of unethical conduct in many well-respected and admired companies such as BP, Enron, Arthur Andersen, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, and Wells Fargo. The ethical, financial, and legal disgrace that ensued as a result of the conduct lead many to question what causes good companies to go bad. As an I/O psychology practitioner operating in an organizational setting, you may be called upon to help businesses and leaders prevent unethical behavior. In order to do so, you must first have a firm understanding of the individual, group, and organizational factors that contribute to unethical behavior.

In this Discussion, you will examine an example of unethical behavior in an organization and the factors that potentially lead to the behavior.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Read Chapter 3 in the text, Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach. In addition, read the articles, “Bounded Awareness: Implications for Ethical Decision Making,” “The Psychology Behind Unethical Behavior,” and “Ethical Blind Spots: Explaining Unintentional Unethical Behavior.” Consider how psychological phenomena account for unethical behavior.
  • Read the article, “Unethical for the Sake of the Group: Risk of Social Exclusion and Pro-Group Unethical Behavior.” Think about how group dynamics account for unethical behavior.
  • Read Chapter 4 in the text, Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach. Focus on how moral standards, such as relativism and egoism, can be used to rationalize unethical behavior.
  • Read Chapter 7 in the text, Business Ethics: An Ethical Decision-Making Approach. Consider common workplace ethical dilemmas and the ethical commentary following each dilemma.
  • Read the articles, “Building World-Class Ethics and Compliance Programs” and “Corporate Ethics and Compliance Programs: A Report, Analysis and Critique.” Pay particular attention to how ethical initiatives, such as ethics and compliance programs, can be used to encourage ethical behavior and prevent unethical behavior in organizations.
  • Identify a specific example of an unethical behavior that occurred in an organization with which you are familiar. The example could be one that you heard about in the news or one that you observed in an organization. Consider the individual, group, and organizational factors that contributed to the unethical behavior.

By Day 3

Post a response to the following:

Briefly describe a specific example of unethical behavior that occurred in an organization with which you are familiar. Then explain how individual, group, and organizational factors contributed to the unethical behavior. Use specific examples to support your explanation.


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