Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace: HR Managers’ Perceptions of Behavioral Influences with Implications for Building an Ethical Culture in Organizations

By Ramona Marie LaMontagne.

Published by The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 16, 2016 $US5.00

This qualitative study examined the perceptions of human resource managers who had faced ethical dilemmas in the workplace, to gain an understanding of how they felt their life experiences shaped their values in making ethical decisions. Each human resource manager shared a personal story through the process of interviews that told of an ethical dilemma, and the development of the value perspectives that made up his or her ethical framework. The interviews were analyzed through the process of the constant comparison method which revealed some common themes throughout. Emergent themes included a diversity of childhood and adult learning experiences from formal and informal church teachings and activities, immediate and extended family influences, and the community; the role of the human resource manager and the perception by the individual as well as by employees of the organization of the human resources manager’s responsibility to make things right and act as caretaker; and the process of decision-making itself, the importance of including others in dialogue about making rational decisions and judgments based on facts, of not making hasty decisions in isolation, of looking at both short-term and long-term consequences for individuals and the organization, and of the importance of considering alternatives to arrive at a decision that is both just and does the least amount of harm to any individual, always keeping the concern for the greater good of the organization in mind.

Keywords: Ethical Decision Making, Ethical Cultures, Workplace Ethical Dilemmas

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 15, 2015, pp.9-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 16, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 557.444KB)).

Dr. Ramona Marie LaMontagne

Executive Director of Marketing, Adjunct Faculty, Lewis University, Northern Illinois University, Romeoville, Illinois, USA