Research what is being said in the academic literature about the issue and what the secular worldview suggests is relevant in the contemporary business environment. Also, research the Bible for information related to the topic and identify what a Christian or follower of God should consider importantly related to the topic under consideration. Compare and contrast what agrees between Scripture and secular thoughts and what may differ between the two. The paper must be 8-10 pages and double spaced, not including the title page, abstract, and references pages. there must be 8-10 scholarly references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J., Ferrell, L., (2017) Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases (11th ed.)

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Ethics: Causes of Unethical Behavior

Abstract

Ethical issues in workplaces is no longer a strange concept in today’s dynamic business environment. There are frequently reported events of unethical behavior, now that diversity and social responsibility have become integral parts of an organization’s structure. This paper considers the causes of unethical behavior at the workplace and a further discussion provided as to why people endure the occurrence of such events. Deliberated also, will be the major causes of unethical behavior ranging from disregard of employer and employee right to the lack of Code of Ethics. Besides the causes of unethical behavior, the perspective of academic literature, alongside the secular worldwide views concerning unethical behavior, is considered carefully. Bible information related to the topic highlighting what a Christian should think in ethics relevant to the contemporary business environment is thus explained. Comparing and contrasting the scriptural view to the secular perspective is also a crucial part of achieving the objective of this research. Significant findings and trends indicate notable differences between the three approaches, as there are similarities. Based on all points of view, much emphasis is given to the upholding of moral and ethical practices to ensure mutual relationships and smooth operations at the workplace.

Ethics: Causes of Unethical Behavior

Ethics is a term derived from the Greek word ethos, translating to a character. It defines a system of moral principles, concerned with what is right for others, as well as society in general. Typically known as moral philosophy, ethics focuses on explaining what is right and wrong from a universally accepted perspective. For example, a social worker does not seek to change or induce their system into a client’s design, but reasonably, endeavors to understand and respect the client’s values. The different approaches towards understanding ethics create a categorization of various types of ethics, namely, deontological or duty-based ethics, virtue ethics, and consequentialist ethics.

Unethical behavior refers to when a person or action falls outside the sphere of what is considered right or the proper conduct of a person. It can be linked to businesses, politicians, or professionals. Dealing with the rising occurrences of such behavior has continually become a challenge over the recent past. Due to the advocacy for diversity and social responsibility, within businesses, politics, and other professionals, different causes have been associated with unethical behavior. Some of the reasons resulting in unethical behavior include but not limited to corrupt leadership, lies between employer and employees, harassment and discrimination, or the lack of a Code of Ethics. To get an in-depth understanding of what revolves around unethical behavior, different perspectives can be considered, such as, academic literature, and secular worldwide view in terms of the contemporary business environment.

Additionally, not to mention the Biblical perspective with what a Christian must consider when dealing with unethical behavior. Academic literature argues that there are multiple angles of ethical culture within the business environment that must be taken into consideration to reduce unethical behavior. Furthermore, the focus should be given to the dynamic relationship between the dimensions and the instruments required to improve each size. A secular worldwide view of unethical behavior dictates that, apart from the religious traditions, unethical behavior results as a disregard of the human faculties, namely, moral intuition, the various forms of consequentialism, or freethinking. The Christian perspective, on the other hand, upholds biblical principles as dictated in the scriptures, underlying the great commandments given by the Lord. Nonetheless, different denominations deduce contrasting opinions on the same. This paper seeks to provide a discussion on the causes of unethical behavior at the workplace and why people endure, focusing on the existing differences and similarities existing between the various understandings of Christianity, secular suggestions, and academic literature.

Academic and Secular Worldview on Causes of Unethical Behavior

Virtue ethics is based on the person rather than the action. Much of the emphasis is grounded on the character or morals of a person. In this case, virtue becomes a desirable character attribute. Deontological ethics focuses on the morality of an action based on adherence to the rules and obligations. It is also referred to as obligation or rule-based ethics since actions are bound to the fulfillment of duty. Consequentialism ethics, on the other hand, deals with morality in the context of whether something is right or wrong based on the necessary implications.

Academic literature has said a lot concerning the causes of unethical behavior. According to Ferrell & Fraedrich (2017), behaviors such as organization misconduct, deception in workplaces, among many other forms of unethical behaviors have become a typical phenomenon. However, what is more fascinating is that such actions are also carried out by the people who are regarded to uphold morality. Literature in ethics together with moral psychology, has shown that even the good people, that is, those who are considered to care about morality are capable of committing or behaving unethically. Continuous research indicates that any person is capable of committing a profound unethical act (Bowie, 2017). Often, many people do not realize that they are behaving in an unethical way because there are specific cognitive frames that make people blind to the fact that they are engaging in unethical behavior.

Through a meta-analysis, experiments have been made to determine the causes of unethical issues, alongside explaining why still many people stand and watch as these behaviors become widespread (Belle & Cantarelli, 2017). The results from the experiment conclude that exposure to people, a group, or members of an organization who are linked to cases of unethical behavior increases the chances of such events occurring. By weighing these findings with the cognitive frameworks inherent in humans, precise causes of unethical behavior can be deduced. Belle & Cantarelli (2017) further believe that some of the highlighted reasons of unethical behavior include but not limited to distorted personal moral values and standards, pressure from employers to engage in unethical activities, lack of a professional code of ethics, peer influence, and an organization’s culture or environment.

Contrary to academic literature, the secular worldwide view approaches the issue of unethical behavior in a more similar way but with a notable contrast. The secular worldwide view comprises a range of ideas drawn from cultural morality, scientific opinions in relation to objective moral truth, commonly known as the science of character, or attribute to intrinsic moral value Hamilton & Webster, 2018). Frequently, the secular worldwide view seems to object to the Christian perspective, since it believes that a human being is capable of achieving morality or behaving ethically without affiliation to religion or deity; this according to Houston (2015). However, necessary to note, secular view thinks that unethical behavior occurs due to the neglect or dismissal of human logic, empathy, or reasoning. The perspective does not derive its causes from mystical guidance but gives its explanation based on the grounds of failing to uphold humanism. Peer influence, pressure from seniors, or disregard of the normative social contracts leads to occurring, reoccurring events of unethical behavior.

Biblical Perspective on the Causes of Unethical Behavior

The biblical worldwide view, or typically known as the Christian perspective, refers to an outline of opinions and beliefs through which Christianity understands and relates to the world. According to Joerstad (2019), Christian ethics relates to the fundamental principles, morals, and values as depicted in the life of Jesus or as revealed in the scriptures. With the rising occurrences of corporate or organizational ethics violations, attention has been drawn to the discussion of moral issues related to business inclusive of social responsibility. Over the years, attempts have been made to integrate religion and spirituality into contemporary business operations, in the quest to mitigate, if not alleviate, the plagues of unethical behavior. The question has remained whether the assimilation of worldwide religious views with the modern perspective, alongside academic literature, could be the ultimate solution to solving the problems of unethical behavior; this is according to Rabens (2017). From the different faiths in the religious world, including Christianity, Islamic teachings, and Judaism, much has been said regarding business practices either by implication or directly.

Notably, it is fascinating that a large number of Christian ethicists agree that critiques and theories applied to ethical issues in the Christian context are derived from revelation (scripture), tradition, and both human reasoning and experience. However, what distinguishes the worldwide Christian view from other views, such as academic, secular, and Islamic, is the reliance on Biblical revelation. Important to note, Christian ethics ultimately bases its measure of ethics on the moral character of God (Houston, 2015). God’s character is believed to be fair, unchanging, and eternal, for that reason, making it the moral standard for human beings, since they acquire it from Him. Again, Christian ethics teaches that acceptable morals are action, personal character traits, or attitudes that are approved by God.

Christians ethics are considered crucial to the proclamation of the gospel, and provision of guidelines to live for the glory of God. Granted that the Christian perspective on ethical and unethical behavior is grounded on revelation (Bible), it is critical to understand the dictates of the scriptures (Schwartz & Hoffman, 2017). For this reason, a clear understanding of the causes of unethical behavior can be achieved. Christianity believes that the Scriptures contain the moral Law of God, and it is this Law that all ethical issues are filtered. Whatever falls short of this Law is automatically considered immoral or unethical.

Withdrawal from a mutual connection with God is regarded as one of the leading causes of unethical behavior. Since humankind sinned against God, they fell short of His glory, leaving them deprived of the power to come to His standard of morality; this is according to (Joerstad, 2019). For that reason, God gives human beings His Holy Spirit to help them live morally, that is, live up to the standard of what God considered ethical or ethically right. Similarly, one’s withdrawal from their affiliated faith, that I, forsaking the assembling together with other believes, lessens the influence to live an ethical life. Other causes include fear to live beyond reproach, standing up for one’s faith, lack of perseverance, and venturing into morally risky grounds.

Compare and Contrast

Besides the existing broader spectrum of ethics with the social environment, Christian ethics, as part of the more general concept of ethics, is a new scientific field that studies proper human behavior. For this reason, marked similarities have been drawn with findings showing that the course followed by Christian ethics corresponds in characteristics to that of secular ethics; this is according to (Wang, Long, Zhang & He, 2019). One significant comparison lies within the definition. In both perspectives, the defining principles exhibit the same elements that regulate human behavior with others. Both concepts explain the standards of morality that an individual should live by providing an understanding between right and wrong (Schwartz & Hoffman, 2017). In Christianity, it is considered that ethics is a growing phenomenon. The scriptures picture morality as a lifelong process.

Spiritual maturity results from development relating to sequential age; thus, teaching that spiritual growth is a gradual process. Likewise, the secular perspective depicts ethics as a dynamic behavior that moves along man within time and space. Different from the similarities, there is also a marked contrast between the two approaches. The significant existing difference lies in the derivation of their primary sources. While the Bible is the primary source for Christian ethics, secular ethics, on the other hand, claims attitudes shared based on humanity (Geiger-Oneto & Minton, 2017). Religious ethics draws from the dictates of a deity, while secular ethics are derived from moral philosophy.

Christian ethics believe that morality is a construct of humankind and that it is born out of enlightened self-interest. Also, through the power of God, man can reach the desired and accepted moral standard. On the other hand, Secular ethics shows that morality is inherent in humankind. The individual who does not believe in God is moral and virtuous and does not require a to be handed down a moral code by a high deity. Their way of life recognizes the value of ethical behavior in this life to individuals and the general society.

 

 

Why People Endure

The question of why people remain silent even in witness of fraud, greed, harassment, discrimination, employee exploitation, and underpaid taxes, or over-taxation, among other unethical behaviors, still puzzles many, including professionals and leaders of the government. Wang Long, Zhang & He (2019) indicate that one of the prominent reasons why many endure occurrences of unethical behavior is peer influence. In some cases, the understanding of morality may vary between individuals. To one, a particular action appears normal and within the sphere of their character; as a result, favoring unethical behavior.

Additionally, most people endure unethical behavior for fear of the consequences. For example, an individual may fear to report another employee or employer due to retaliation from the coworker, or they may seek to avoid a bad reputation among their fellow workers (Rabens, 2017). In other cases, unethical behaviors are often associated with financial benefits or seem to elevate the performance of an organization towards its agendas. When fraudulent persons benefit from such actions, many find it challenging to report, thus enduring to engage in similar misconducts in the future. The pressure, especially from an authoritarian type of leadership which operates in either following their way or following the highway, puts pressure on employees since it requires absolute loyalty despite the circumstances, or whatever come may.

Conclusion

In conclusion, an in-depth elaboration of the different perspectives that fall in the broad spectrum of ethics provides a vivid understanding of the causes of unethical behavior, together with why many cases remain unreported. In light of the above, academic literature has provided insight by arguing that unethical behavior can be traced through understanding the multiple dimensions of the ethical culture. Within an organization, besides the ethical culture, diversity and social responsibility also play a critical role in the exploration of recognizing causes of unethical behavior. The secular worldwide view, embraces the concept of humanism, relying on logic, moral intuition, the various forms of consequentialism, or freethinking. Additionally, secular ethics believes that human beings are capable of themselves to achieve morality without the help of a deity or necessarily to subscribe to a particular religion.

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On the other hand, as discussed above, Christian ethics defines morality as a human construct that is given to him by God. Likewise, through the Bible, a primary source for measuring character is established, since the scriptures are considered an expression of the Will of God, in other words, His Moral Law. In Christianity, God is believed to the one defining between what is ethical and what is unethical. Therefore, anything committed that is not approved by God is considered immoral. By comparing and contrasting Christian ethics, with the secular worldwide view, there are notable differences, and there are similarities. However, prominent philosophers and scholars have advocated the collaboration of the two points of view to enhance the promotion of ethical behaviors in relevance to the contemporary business environment.

On balances, when people endure the occurrence of such events due to fear, pressure from employers, or benefits seemingly enjoyed by undertakers of such activities, unethical behavior continues to grow. The implications of tolerated unethical behavior have been shown to have a severe impact not only on individuals but also on organizations and society as well. With knowledge of unethical behavior and remaining silent about it poses a high chance of contagion, resulting in severe effects on multiple beings in the community. As Albert Einstein once said, “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

 

References

Belle, N., & Cantarelli, P. (2017). What Causes Unethical Behavior? A Meta‐Analysis to Set an Agenda for Public Administration Research. Public Administration Review, 77(3), 327–339. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12714

Bowie, N. E. (2017). Business ethics: A Kantian perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2017). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Nelson Education.

Geiger-Oneto, S., & Minton, E. (2017). When Moral Mindsets Increase Unethical Consumption: The Influence of Religion and Moral Emotions on Luxury Consumption. Advances in Consumer Research, 45. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2126571419/

Hamilton, L., & Webster, P. (2018). The international business environment. Oxford University Press.

Houston, F. S. (2015). You shall love the stranger as yourself: The Bible, refugees and asylum. Routledge.

Joerstad, M. (2019). The Hebrew Bible and environmental ethics: humans, non-humans, and the living landscape. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Rabens, V. (2017). The Bible and ethics: Pathways for dialogue. In Die Skirling, 51(3), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i3.2246

Schwartz, M. S., & Hoffman, W. M. (2017). Ethical Decision Making Surveyed through the Lens of Moral Imagination. Business and Professional Ethics Journal.

Wang, T., Long, L., Zhang, Y., & He, W. (2019). A Social Exchange Perspective of Employee–Organization Relationships and Employee Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior: The Moderating Role of Individual Moral Identity. Journal of Business Ethics, 159(2), 473–489. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3782-9

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