Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 457–479 | Cite as

What Should a Manager Like Me Do in a Situation Like This? Strategies for Handling Ethical Problems from the Viewpoint of the Logic of Appropriateness

  • Minna-Maaria HiekkataipaleEmail author
  • Anna-Maija Lämsä


In this research, we argue that managers have various strategies for handling complex ethical problems and that these strategies are formed according to the logic of appropriateness. First, we will show through a qualitative empirical study the different strategies that are used for handling ethical problems. Five types of strategies are identified in this study: mediating, principled, isolation, teaching and bystanding. Secondly, we will investigate the types of ethical approaches which managers reveal when handling ethical problems. Thirdly, we will discuss which strategies seem to contribute to the overall ethicality of organisations. To conclude, we suggest that the decisions and actions of managers like the middle managers in this study are influenced by their interpretation of what is appropriate behaviour in the particular situation.


Ethical problem Ethical decision making Problem-handling strategies Logic of appropriateness Middle manager Qualitative study Ethics Ethical organisation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessJAMK University of Applied SciencesJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.JSBE Jyväskylä University School of Business and EconomicsJyväskyläFinland

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