Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 163–174 | Cite as

Anomie and Ethics at Work

Article

Abstract

The paper reports on research undertaken in three organisations seeking to explore anomie at work. This research explores whether a distinction in the levels of anomie between people’s perception of the work and non-work contexts exists in three organisations, that is whether people are more likely to feel more hopeless and helpless in their work or non-work life. It also looks at whether people in different organisations have significantly different levels of anomie. A significant difference in the non-work anomie between organisations, but no significant difference in work anomie between organisations, was found. In the three organisations researched, the anomie score in the non-work context is lower than in the work context, indicating that respondents perceive the work context as more anomic. The work anomie for the total sample was found to be significantly higher that the non-work anomie. The implications for ethical behaviour at work and business ethics are discussed.

Keywords

Anomie morality business ethics work anomie 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aron, R.: 1967, Main Currents in Sociological Thought, R. Howard and H. Weaver (Trans.), Vol. (New York, Doubleday).Google Scholar
  2. Barnard C. I. (1938) The Functions of the Executive. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Beach L. R. (1990) Image Theory: Decision Making in Personal and Organizational Contexts. John Wiley & Sons, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  4. Benn S. I. (1988) A Theory of Freedom. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Bersoff D. M. (1999) Why Good People Sometimes do Bad Things: Motivated Reasoning and Unethical Behavior. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 25(1):28–29Google Scholar
  6. Box S. (1981) Deviance, Reality and Society, 2nd edn. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernburg J. G. (2002) Anomie, Social Change and Crime. British Journal of Criminology 42:729–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Butterfield K. D., Trevino L. K., Weaver G. R. (2000) Moral Awareness in Business Organizations: Influences of Issue-related and Social Context Factors. Human Relations 53(7):981–1018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caruana A., Ramaseshan B., Ewing M. T. (2000) The Effect of Anomie on Academic Dishonesty Among University Students. The International Journal of Educational Management 14(1):23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caruana A., Ramaseshan B., Ewing M. T. (2001) Anomia and Deviant Behavior in Marketing: Some Prelimimary Evidence. Journal of Managerial Psychology 16(5):322–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen D. V. (1993) Creating and Maintaining Ethical Work Climate: Anomie in the Workplace and Implications for Managing Change. Business Ethics Quarterly 3(4):343–358Google Scholar
  12. Cullen J. B., Victor B., Stephens C. (1989) An Ethical Weather Report: Assessing the Organization’s Ethical Climate. Organizational Dynamics 18(2):50–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis M. A., Andersen M. G., Curtis M. B. (2001) Measuring Ethical Ideology in Business Ethics: A Critical Analysis of the Ethics Position Questionnaire. Journal of Business Ethics 32:35–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deflem M. (1989) From Anomie to Anomia and Anomic Depression: A Sociological Critique on the Use of Anomie in Psychiatric Research. Social Science and Medicine 29(5):627–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dickson M. W., Smith B. D., Grojean M. W., Ehrhart M. (2001) An Organizational Climate Regarding Ethics: The Outcome of Leader Values and the Practices that Reflect Them. The Leadership Quarterly 12:197–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Durkheim, E.: 1947, The Division of Labor in Society, G. Simpson (Trans.) (Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  17. Elm D. R., Nichols-Lippitt M. (1993) An Investigation of the Moral Reasoning of Managers. Journal of Business Ethics 12:817–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Emler N., Hogan R. (1992) Individualizing Conscience: New Thoughts on Old Issues. In: Kurtines W. M., Azmitia M., Gewirtz J. L. (eds) The Role of Values in Psychology and Human Development. John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 200–238Google Scholar
  19. Ewing, D.: 1978, –Employee Freedom within the Organization’, Paper presented at the Power and Responsibility in the American Business System: Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Business Ethics, Bentley College, April 7 & 8.Google Scholar
  20. Ewin R. E. (1991) The Moral Status of the Corporation. Journal of Business Ethics 10:749–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fassin Y. (2005) The Reasons Behind Non-ethical Behaviour in Business and Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics 60:265–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forsyth D. R. (1980) A Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39(1):175–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Forsyth D. R. (1992) Judging the Morality of Business Practices: The Influence of Personal Moral Philosophies. Journal of Business Ethics 11:461–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Freeman R. E. (1994) The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Directions. Business Ethics Quarterly 4(4):409–421Google Scholar
  25. French P. (1979) The Corporation as a Moral Person. In: Donaldson T., Werhane P. H. (eds) Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach, 3rd edn. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp. 100–109Google Scholar
  26. French P. A. (1996) Integrity, Intentions and Corporations. American Business Law Journal 34(2):141–155Google Scholar
  27. French W., Allbright D. (1998) Resolving a Moral Conflict Through Discourse. Journal of Business Ethics 17:177–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fromm E. (1942) The Fear of Freedom. Routledge & Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Fromm E. (1955) The Sane Society. Fawcett Premier Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Garrett J. E. (1989) Unredistributable Corporate Moral Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 8:535–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gioia D. A. (1992) Pinto Fires and Personal Ethics: A Script Analysis of Missed Opportunities. Journal of Business Ethics 11:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hampden-Turner C. (1970) Radical Man: The Process of Psycho-social Development. Schenkman Publishing, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  33. Himmelfarb G. (1995) The De-moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values. Alfred A. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Horton J. (1964) The Dehumanization of Anomie and Alienation: A Problem in the Ideology of Sociology. British Journal of Sociology 15(4):283Google Scholar
  35. Jackall R. (1988) Moral Mazes. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Ladd J. (1970/1988) Morality and the Ideal of Rationality in Formal Organizations. In: Donaldson T., Werhane P. H. (eds) Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach, 3rd edn. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, pp. 110–122Google Scholar
  37. Lindholm C. (1997) Logical and Moral Dilemmas of Postmodernism. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 3(4):747–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacIntyre A. (1993) After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 2nd edn. Duckworth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  39. McKenna R. J., Tsahuridu E. E. (2001) Must Managers Leave Ethics at Home? Economics and Moral Anomy in Business Organisations. Reason in Practice 1(3):67–76Google Scholar
  40. Mansfield P. (2004) Anomie and Disaster in Corporate Culture: The Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on the Ethical Climate of Marketing Organisations. Marketing Management Journal 14(2):88–99Google Scholar
  41. Merton R. K. (1957) Social Structure and Anomie. American Sociological Review 3:672–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Merton R. K. (1968) Social Theory and Social Structure, 3rd edn. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Metzger M. B., Dalton D. R. (1996) Seeing the Elephant: An Organizational Perspective on Corporate Moral Agency. American Business Law Journal 33:489–576Google Scholar
  44. Miceli N. S. (1996) Deviant Managerial Behavior: Costs, Outcomes and Prevention. Journal of Business Ethics 15:703–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Munck R. (2004) Globalization, Labor and the ‚Polanyi Problem’. Labor History 45(3):251–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nagel T. (1979) Mortal Questions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Nesteruk J. (1991) Legal Persons and Moral Worlds: Ethical Choices within the Corporate Environment. American Business Law Journal 29:75–97Google Scholar
  48. Ouchi W. G. (1980) Markets, Bureaucracies, and Clans. Administrative Science Quarterly 25:129–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Paine S. L. (1996) Moral Thinking in Management: An Essential Capability. Business Ethics Quarterly 6(4):477–492Google Scholar
  50. Passas N. (2001) False Accounts: Why Do Company Statements Often Offer a True and Fair View of Virtual Reality. European Journal On Criminal Policy and Research 9(2):117–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Polanyi K. (1957) The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  52. Radin T. J., Werhane P. H. (1996) The Public/Private Distinction and the Political Status of Employment. American Business Law Journal 34(2):245–260Google Scholar
  53. Radin T. J., Werhane P. H. (2003) Employment-at-will, Employee Rights, and Future Directions for Employment. Business Ethics Quarterly 13(2):113–130Google Scholar
  54. Rose G. (1966) Anomie and Deviation: A Conceptual Framework for Empirical Studies. British Journal of Sociology 17(1):29–45Google Scholar
  55. Roshto, P. G.: 1995, – Review of “Values Based Leadership Rebuilding Employee Commitment, Performance, & Productivity”’, Retrieved 8/8/1997, from www.cber.nlu.edu/DBR/ROSHTO.htmGoogle Scholar
  56. Schminke M., Ambrose M. L. (1997) Asymmetric Perceptions of Ethical Frameworks of Men and Women in Business and Nonbusiness Settings. Journal of Business Ethics 16:719–729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shepard J. M., Shepard J., Wimbush J. C., Stephens C. U. (1995) The Place of Ethics in Business: Shifting Paradigms? Business Ethics Quarterly 5(3):577–601Google Scholar
  58. Thorlindsson T., Bernburg J. G. (2004) Durkheims Theory of Social Order and Deviance: A Multi-level Test. European Sociological Review 20(4):271–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Toddington S. (1993) Rationality, Social Action and Moral Judgement. Edinburgh University Press, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  60. Treviño L. K. (1986) Ethical Decision Making in Organizations: A Person-situation Interactionist Model. Academy of Management Review 11(3):601–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Treviño L. K., Youngblood S. A. (1990) Bad Apples in Bad Barrels: A Causal Analysis of Ethical Decision-making Behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology 75(4):378–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Treviño L. K., Brown M. (2004) Managing to be Ethical: Debunking Five Business Ethics Myths. Academy of Management Executive 18(2):69–81Google Scholar
  63. Tsahuridu, E. E.: 2002, ‚The Remoralisation of Business’, Paper presented at the International Conference of Reason in Practice and the Forum for European Philosophy: Developing Philosophy of Management, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 26–29 June.Google Scholar
  64. Van Kenhove P., Vermeir I., Verniers S. (2001) An Empirical Investigation of the Relationships between Ethical Beliefs, Ethical Ideology, Political Preference and Need for Closure. Journal of Business Ethics 32:347–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vaughan D. (1998) Rational Choice, Situated Action, and the Social Control of Organizations. Law & Society Review 32(1):23–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Victor B., Cullen J. B. (1987) A Theory and Measure of Ethical Climate in Organizations. In: Frederick W. C. (eds) Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy, Vol. 9. Greenwich, JAI Press, pp. 51–71Google Scholar
  67. Victor B., Cullen J. B. (1988) The Organizational Bases of Ethical Work Climates. Administrative Science Quarterly 33:101–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weaver W. G. (1998) Corporations as Intentional Systems. Journal of Business Ethics 17:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Weber J. (1990) Managers’ Moral Reasoning: Assessing their Responses to Three Moral Dilemmas. Human Relations 43(7):687–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Werhane P. H. (1999) Justice and Trust. Journal of Business Ethics 21:237–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wheeler D., Colbert B., Freeman R. E. (2003) Focusing on Value: Reconciling Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability and a Stakeholder Approach in a Network World. Journal of General Management 28(3):1–28Google Scholar
  72. Williams O. F. (1997) The Challenge: Envisioning the Good Life. In: Williams O. F. (ed) The Moral Imagination. The University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame Indiana, pp. 1–15Google Scholar
  73. Wilmot S. (2001) Corporate Moral Responsibility: What Can We Infer from Our Understanding of Organisations? Journal of Business Ethics 30:161–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wimbush J. C., Shepard J. M., Markham S. E. (1997) An Empirical Examination of the Multi-dimensionality of Ethical Climate in Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics 16:67–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zahra S. A. (1989) Executive Values and the Ethics of Company Politics: Some Preliminary Findings. Journal of Business Ethics 8(1):15–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Zimbardo P. G. (2004) A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil: Understanding How Good People are Transformed into Perpetrators. In: Miller A. G. (ed) The Social Psychology of Good and Evil. Guilford Press, New York, pp. 21–50Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business SchoolUniversity of GreenwichLondonU.K.

Personalised recommendations