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What can managers do about unethical management?

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Abstract

What can and should we do as managers and administrators when our sense of personal morality is at odds with our organization's behavior? Among the many alternatives are: (1) not think about it; (2) go along and get along; (3) protest; (4) conscientiously object; (5) leave; (6) secretly blow the whistle; (7) publicly blow the whistle; (8) secretly threaten to blow the whistle; (9) sabotage; and, (10) negotiate and build consensus for a change in the unethical behavior. This article considers the advantages and disadvantages of these ten types of strategies based on some philosophy, game theory and everyday pragmatics.

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Additional information

Richard P. Nielsen is Associate Professor at School of Management, Boston College. He is a frequent contributor to academic and professional management journals in the area of managerial ethics. A related theoretical article of his that appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics is ‘Toward an Action Philosophy for Managers Based on Arendt and Tillich’, May 1984, pp. 153–161.

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Nielsen, R.P. What can managers do about unethical management?. J Bus Ethics 6, 309–320 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00382940

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Keywords

  • Economic Growth
  • Game Theory
  • Unethical Behavior
  • Personal Morality