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Building Houses on Rocks: The Role of the Ethical Infrastructure in Organizations

Abstract

We present and discuss a theoretical model of an organization's ethical infrastructure, defined as the organizational elements that contribute to an organization's ethical effectiveness. We propose that the infrastructure is composed of both formal and informal elements—including communication, surveillance, and sanctioning systems—as well as organizational climates for ethics, respect, and justice. We discuss the nature of the relationship between these elements and ethical behavior, the relative strength of each of these elements, and their impact on each other. Theoretical and practical implications of this model are presented.

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Tenbrunsel, A.E., Smith-Crowe, K. & Umphress, E.E. Building Houses on Rocks: The Role of the Ethical Infrastructure in Organizations. Social Justice Research 16, 285–307 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025992813613

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025992813613

  • ethics
  • communication
  • sanctioning
  • climate
  • justice
  • respect