Looking Forward...

Looking Forward...
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unethical Behavior and Nonethical Values

Ethics deals with what is right or wrong in human behavior and conduct (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2007). Ethics or integrity is a set of moral standards of what is good and right behavior. Ethics refers to “standards of conduct that indicate how one should behave based on moral duties and virtues arising from principles about right and wrong” (Osland, Kolb, Rubin, and Turner, 2007). According to Osland et al. (2007), one of the first steps in teaching ethics is to help people identify and articulate their own values, and values are core beliefs or desires that guide or motivate attitudes and actions. The goals, norms, beliefs, and values of a person will vary depending upon the cultural and religious tradition of that person, and those variations will in turn affect the moral standards. Moral standards of behavior are our gauges of individual and organizational actions. The problem is that our moral standards of behavior are subjective. They are personal. Moral standards of behavior differ between peoples because the goals, norms, belief, and values upon which they depend also differ, because of variations in the religious and cultural traditions and the economic and social situations in which the individuals are immersed. Our family, our religion, our community, and schools have helped to shape our values.

In ordinary language, we frequently use the words ethical and moral (and unethical and immoral) interchangeably; that is, we speak of the ethical or moral person or act. When we speak of people as being moral or ethical, we usually mean that they are good people, and when we speak of them as being immoral or unethical, we mean that they are bad people. When we refer to actions as being moral, ethical, immoral, and unethical, we mean that they are right or wrong. The immoral person knowingly violates human moral standards by doing something wrong or by being bad. Ethical behavior is concerned with not only what should be, but what should not be. The study of ethics is concerned with how a moral person should behave, and values concern the various beliefs and attitudes that determine how a person actually behaves.

According to Osland et al. (2007), ethical values directly relate to beliefs concerning what is right and proper (as opposed to what is simply correct or effective) or that motivate a sense of moral duty. But people, however, do not always act in accordance with their espoused values. It is difficult for people to act ethically if they have not been inculcated with ethical values when they were growing up. Non-ethical considerations are important because they are often the powerful impediments to ethical conduct, and the cause of many conflicts of interest (Marshall, 2007). Non-ethical values deal with things we like, desire, or find personally important, such as money, status, happiness, fulfilment, pleasure, personal freedom, and being liked (Osland et al., 2007). Anyone behave unethically because unethical or immoral behavior is the product of a number of factors, both internal and external. All of these elements must be addressed if we want to cast light rather than shadow. Johnson (2007) stated that unhealthy motivations that produce immoral behavior include internal enemies (insecurity, battleground mentality, functional atheism, fear, denial of death, evil) and selfishness (pride, ego, narcissism). Not all shadow casters come from within. Ethical failures are the product of group, organizational, and cultural forces as well.


Johnson, C. E. (2007). Ethics in the workplace: Tools and tactics for organizational transformation. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Marshall, J. (2007). Ethics scoreboards: Rule book. Retrieved May 29, 2010 from http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_definitions.html

Osland, J. C., Kolb, D. A., Rubin, I. M., & Turner, M. E. (2007). The Organizational Behavior: An Experiential Approach (8th ed.). NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Thiroux, J. P. & Krasemann, K. W. (2009). Ethics: Theory and Practice (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

The differences in communication patterns of men and women

Communication is the process by which information is exchanged between communicators with the goal of achieving mutual understanding (Osland, Kolb, Rubin, and Turner, 2007, p. 195). Effective communication does more than just convey information. Effective managers can use communication to keep employees informed and up to date on everything happening within the organization. Successful organizations understand that communication is the glue that holds an organization together. There are numerous causes of distortion that function as barriers to communication, such as poor relationships, lack of clarity, individual differences in encoding and decoding, perception, culture, silence, and direct versus indirect communication (Osland, Kolb, Rubin, and Turner, 2007). But there are times gender also influences how people encode communication.

Deborah Tannen highlighted some important insights into differences between men and women in terms of their conversational styles (Robbins & Judge, 2007). In particular, Tannen has been able to explain why gender often creates oral communication barriers. The essence of Tannen’s research is that men use talk to emphasize status, power, dominance, and independence, whereas women use it to create connection. According to Tannen, communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. Intimacy emphasizes closeness and commonalities. Independence emphasizes separateness and differences. Women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy. Women as a group are more concerned with maintaining the relationship with the person to whom they are speaking. Women are more likely to aim for cooperation, and focus on seeking and giving confirmation and support. For many women, conversations are negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek and give confirmation and support, whereas for many men, conversations are primarily to maintain status in a hierarchical social order.

According to Robbins and Judge (2007), Men frequently complain that women keep on talking about their problem, and women criticize men for not listening. Actually when men hear a problem, they frequently assert their desire for independence and control by offering solutions. On the other hand, women view telling a problem as a means to promote closeness. The women present the problem to gain support and connection, not to get the man’s advice. Mutual understanding is symmetrical—it sets up men as more knowledgeable, more reasonable, and more in control. This contributes to distancing men and women in their efforts to communicate. Men are often more direct than women in conversation. Men often criticize women for seeming to apologize all the time, and consider this as a weakness because they interpret it as the women is accepting blame. Lastly, women tend to be less boastful than men, and take the other person’s feeling into account. However, men can frequently misinterpret this and incorrectly conclude that women are less confident and competent than she really is.


Kolb, D.A., Osland, J.S., Turner, M.E., & Rubin, I.M. (2007). The organizational behavior: Behavior reader (8th ed.). Upper River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Robbins, S. P. & Judge, T. A. (2007). Organizational Behavior (12th. ed.). New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, Pearson.

Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand. Retrieved on June 6, 2010 from