, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 129-143

Ethical Decision Making in Organizations: The Role of Leadership Stress

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Abstract

Across two studies the hypotheses were tested that stressful situations affect both leadership ethical acting and leaders’ recognition of ethical dilemmas. In the studies, decision makers recruited from 3 sites of a Swedish multinational civil engineering company provided personal data on stressful situations, made ethical decisions, and answered to stress-outcome questions. Stressful situations were observed to have a greater impact on ethical acting than on the recognition of ethical dilemmas. This was particularly true for situations involving punishment and lack of rewards. The results are important for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of an organization, especially with regard to the analysis of the stressors influencing managerial work and its implications for ethical behavior.