Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 297–305 | Cite as

An Exploration of Factors Affecting Work Anomia



Anomie, a societal and anomia an individual characteristic is employed to understand the behaviour of people and more recently it has been used to explore and understand the moral behaviour of people at work. This article reports on research undertaken to explore the relationship between organisational interest, ethical ideologies, employment, religion and ethnic origin on work and nonwork anomia. An objective of this research was to ascertain whether participants that were not employed had lower levels of work-related anomia than those that were employed. The sample consisted of students (N = 209) enroled in management degrees in a UK university. Results indicate that overall work anomia was statistically significant higher than nonwork anomia. Employment status had a significant effect on levels of nonwork anomia. Religion and ethnic origin were also found to have a significant effect on anomia levels. The findings indicate that the work context may be perceived as inherently anomic and this perception is then adjusted according to the actual experience at work. This may influence ethical behaviour and explain the ethical regression that is identified in the work context.


anomie anomia business ethics ethical behaviour 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bachman, J. G., Kahn, R. L., Mednick, M. T., Davidson, T. N., & Johnston, L. D.: 1969, Youth in Transition, Vol. 1, (Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan).Google Scholar
  2. Besnard, P.: 1988, ‘The True Nature of Anomie’, Sociological Theory 6 (Spring), 91–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carr, L. G. and W. J. Hauser: 1976, ‘Anomie and Religiosity: An Empirical Re-Examination’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 15(1), 69-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caruana, A., B. Ramaseshan and M. T. Ewing: 2000, ‘The Effect of Anomie on Academic Dishonesty among University Students’, The International Journal of Educational Management, 14(1), 23-30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, L. C. and R. M. Arkin: 2002, ‘Materialism as an Attempt to Cope with Uncertainty’, Psychology & Marketing, 19(5), 389-406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Current Sociology: 1973, ‘Alienation as a Concept in the Social Sciences’, Current Sociology, 21, 9-39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 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), 627-634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durkheim, E.: 1897 [1951], Suicide (G. Simpson, Trans.) (Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  9. Durkheim, E.: 1947, The Division of Labor in Society (G. Simpson, Trans.) (Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  10. Durkheim, E.: 1958, Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (Free Press, Glencoe, IL).Google Scholar
  11. Etzioni, A.: 1996, ‘A moderate communitarian proposal’, Political Theory, 24(2), 155-171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Forsyth, D. R.: 1980, ‘A Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(1), 175-184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forsyth, D. R.: 1992, ‘Judging the Morality of Business Practices: The Influence of Personal Moral Philosophies’, Journal of Business Ethics, 11 (5/6), 461-470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Froelich, K. S. and J. L. Kottke: 1991, ‘Measuring Individual Beliefs about Organizational Ethics’, Educational and Psychological Measurement, 51(2), 377-383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huschka, D. and S. Mau: 2006, ‘Social Anomie and Racial Segregation in South Africa’, Social Indicators Research, 76, 467-498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones, T. M.: 1991, ‘Ethical decision making by individuals in organizations: An issue-contingent model’, Academy of Management Review, 16(2), 366-395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones, T. M. and V. L. Ryan: 1997, ‘The link between ethical judgment and action in organizations: A moral approbation approach’, Organization Science, 8(6), 663-680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalekin-Fishman, D.: 2006, ‘Studying Alienation: Toward a Better Society?’, Kybernetes, 35(3/4), 522-530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karassavidou, E., Glaveli, N. (2007) Ethical Orientations Of Future Greek Business People: Is Anomia Responsible For Deviant Ethical Attitudes. Business Ethics A European Review, 16(2), 114-123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MacIver, R. M.: 1950, ‘The Rampants we Guard’ (4 ed.), (Macmillan, New York).Google Scholar
  21. Manrique de Lara, Z. M., Espinoza-Rodriguez, T. F. (2007) Organizational Anomie as Moderator of the Relationship between an Unfavorable Attitudinal Environment and Citizenship Behavior: An Empirical Study Among University Administration and Services Personnel. Personnel Review 36(6), 843-866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marks, S. R.: 1974, ‘Durkheim’s Theory of Anomie’, The American Journal of Sociology, 80(2), 329-363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Martin, K. D., J. L. Johnson and J.B. Cullen: 2009, ‘Organizational Change, Normative Control Deinstitutionalization, and Corruption’, Business Ethics Quarterly, 19(1), 105-130.Google Scholar
  24. McClosky, H. and J. H. Schaar: 1965, ‘Psychological Dimensions of Anomy’, American Sociological Review, 30(1), 14-40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mestrovic, S. G.: 1987, ‘Durkheim’s Concept of Anomie Considered as a ‘Total’ Social Fact’, The British Society of Sociology, 38(4), 567-583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Middleton, R.: 1963, ‘Alienation, Race, and Education, American Sociological Review, 28(6), 973-977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Orru, M.: 1983, ‘The Ethics of Anomie: Jean Marie Guyau and Emile Durkheim’, The British Society of Sociology, 34(4), 499-518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Orru, M.: 1989, ‘Weber on Anomie’, Sociological Forum, 4(2), 263-270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Passas, N.: 1990, ‘Anomie and Corporate Deviance’, Crime, Law and Social Change, 14(2), 157-178.Google Scholar
  30. Passas, N. (1999) Continuities in the Anomie Tradition. In W. S. Laufer, R. K. Merton (Eds.), The Legacy of Anomie Theory. Transaction, New Brunswick, pp. 91-112.Google Scholar
  31. Pescosolido, B. A. and S. Georgianna: 1989, ‘Durkheim, Suicide, and Religion: Toward a Network Theory of Suicide’, American Sociological Review, 54(1), 33-48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenenbaum, M. S. and R. Kuntze: 2003, ‘The Relationship between Anomie and Unethical Retail Disposition’, Psychology & Marketing, 20(12), 1067-1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saini, A., M. Krush and J.L. Johnson: 2008, ‘Anomie and the Marketing Function: The Role of Control Mechanisms’, Journal of Business Ethics, 83(4), 845-862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Seeman, M.: 1967, ‘On the Personal Consequences of Alienation in Work’, American Sociological Review, 32(2), 273-285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Srole, L.: 1956, ‘Social Integration and Certain Corollaries: An Exploratory Study’, American Sociological Review, 21, 709-716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Trevino, L. K.: 1986, ‘Ethical decision making in organizations: A person-situation interactionist model’, Academy of Management Review, 11(3), 601-617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tsahuridu, E. E.: 2006, ‘Anomie and Ethics at Work’, Journal of Business Ethics, 69(2), 163-174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tsahuridu, E. E. and E. Walker: 2001, ‘Idealism, Gender and Business Decisions’, Journal of Management & Organization, 7(1), 53-62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zahra, S. A.: 1989, ‘Executive Values and the Ethics of Company Politics: Some Preliminary Findings. Journal of Business Ethics, 8(1), 15-29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations