Mismanaging unethical behaviour in the workplace

SOURCE: The Journal of Applied Business Research
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): P.Singh, T.Twalo
DEPARTMENT: Impact Centre (IC), Impact Centre (PRESS), Impact Centre (CC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8645

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.


What constitutes unethical behaviour and its mismanagement is the focus of this article. This includes the transgression of moral norms by employees such as greed, corruption, antisocial behaviour and the abuse of company assets for personal enrichment. A salient feature of this case study is its focus on the workers' lack of adherence to its ethics policies, and a conscious flagrant disregard for the organization's moral codes by its employees. The research question that inevitably arises is whether the employees resort to unethical behaviour because they fail to achieve their goals through legitimate means, or whether it is simply a flagrant disrespect by them of organizational ethical policies that enunciate the moral norms for all its employees. This exploratory study used the mixed methods approach to investigate this problem. The research findings of this study strongly suggest why the sustainability of an organization can be threatened by reported cases of poor administration, weak management of human and non-human resources, and inappropriate job behaviour and performance of its employees. A key finding is that organizations should not leave managers and their employees to solely rely on their moral intuition and good judgement, but to create a culture with the aid of a performance management system in which there is a clear distinction between ethical and unethical behaviour. This research therefore provides further insight into the need for organizations to develop effective management strategies in order to prevent, detect, and respond forcefully to stamp out unethical behaviour of its employees.