National Business Ethics survey report

National Business Ethics survey report
National Business Ethics survey report


National Business Ethics survey report

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The 2011 National Business Ethics survey reported that 45% of respondents witnessed ethical misconduct at work, a record low for the survey; 63% of those respondents reported the misconduct, a record high. Of those whistleblowers, 22% reported retaliation (Ethics Resource Center, 2012).

These statistics seem to indicate increased attention to ethical business practice. However, they also point to an ongoing need to continue to strengthen commitment to ethical business practice. Business professionals and scholars need to know how to face ethical dilemmas and make sound ethical decisions. DBA students should have a basic understanding of various ethical frameworks and understand how these frameworks influence real-world business decisions. Northouse (2013) stated, “[e]thical theory provides a system of rules or principles that guide us in making decisions about what is right or wrong and good or bad in a particular situation. It provides a basis for understanding what it means to be a morally decent human being” (p. 424). Ethical values are used daily for decision making in business. Understanding and analyzing various ethical frameworks will enable you to better solve ethical dilemmas.

To prepare:

•Read the case study, “Hierarchical Motive Structures and Their Role in Moral Choices,” found in this Module’s Learning Resources, and complete the exercise on pp. 482–483.

By Day 3 of Week 6, post a solution to the ethical dilemma posed in the case study. Justify your proposed solution, and explain the reasoning you used to arrive at your solution. Incorporate the justifications you provided in response to the exercise on pp. 482–483. Identify which ethical frameworks outlined in the Learning Resources or in other scholarly literature align with your reasoning. Explain how your reasoning aligns with those frameworks.

•Use academic justification and two scholarly resources, in addition to those presented in the Learning Resources, to support your solution.

Moral choice scenario
Respondents were asked to read and put themselves
in the following situation:

You have just learned information that strongly
suggests that a person, who has been charged with
engaging in an unethical action, has been falsely
charged. He is going to be severely reprimanded
based upon an offense he didn’t commit. The
information you have suggests that the wrong person
was fingered for falsifying entries on official documents.

But one of your friends, a peer within your
command and someone you have known for years,
has asked you not to say anything. While you are
sure your friend didn’t commit the unethical act, he
may be implicated in some way if you step forward
with what you know. You don’t even like the guy
who is going to get the reprimand, but you’re sure
that he’s not the one responsible for the unethical act.
The issue is about to come to a close, and it is likely
that if you come forward, your friend and possibly
three or more other people may also be implicated.

Appendix 2
Interview protocol: hierarchical motives elicitation procedure

Respondents were asked to adhere to the following
procedures in order to provide the underlying motives for their decision to act or not:

Step 1: Please take a couple of minutes to gather
your thoughts and focus on your personal reasons
for why you answered: ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no’’ to
the above question (A). Do this slowly and
carefully, in order to thoroughly identify, in
your own mind, why you answered ‘‘yes’’ or
‘‘no.’’ Then list five (5) reasons in Column #1
of the table on the next page so as to reflect
your personal reasons for answering ‘‘yes’’ or
‘‘no’’ (see Response recording protocol). Please
make a point to express your own actual reasons
for answering ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no’’ above. Your reasons
can be single words, phrases, or a sentence
or two as necessary.

Step 2: After listing your five (5) reasons in
Column #1 of the table, please return to your
first reason in Box #1 and think about why
this reason is important to you personally. We
want you to explain or justify this reason and
to put your explanation for why Reason #1 is
personally important to you in Box #6 (the
first box in Column #2). Sometimes it may
be difficult to put your reasons into words. A
trick or aid to help you do this that has proven
useful is to think about how you would
feel if the reason you gave (Column #1–Box
#1) did not happen. Place your answer for why Reason #1 is important to you in Box #6.

Step 3: After explaining why Reason #1 is
important to you, please look at your response
in Box #6 carefully. Think about why this reason
is important to you personally. Again, take a
moment to explain or justify this reason (Column
#2–Box #6) and put your response in Box
#7, the first box in Column #3 of the table. If
you have difficulty putting your explanation
into words, think about how you would feel if
the reason you gave in Box #6 did not happen.
Place your answer for why Reason #6 is important
to you personally in Box #7.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for each remaining
reason in Column #1. The numbers in the top
left corner of each box are reminders of the
sequence to follow.

Please do your best to provide an answer for each box.
Would you take action?
Yes No
1 2
482 Richard P. Bagozzi et al.
Response recording protocol

Agle, B. R., R. K. Mitchell and J. A. Sonnenfeld: 1999,
‘Who Matters to CEOs? An Investigation of Stakeholder Attributes and Salience, Corporate Performance,and CEO Values’, Academy of Management Journal 42(1), 507–525. Anscombe, G. E. M.: 1963, Intention (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY).

Antaki, C.: 1994, Explaining and Arguing: The Social
Organization of Accounts (Sage, London).

Bagozzi, R. P., M. Bergami and L. Leone: 2003, ‘Hierarchical Representation of Motives in Goal Setting’, Journal of Applied Psychology 88, 915–943.

Baier, A. C.: 1991, A Progress of Sentiments: Reflections on Hume’s Treatise (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA).

Bartone, P. T., S. A. Snook, G. B. Forsyth, P. Lewis and
R. C. Bullis: 2007, ‘Psychosocial Development and
Leader Performance of Military Officer Cadets’, The
Leadership Quarterly 18, 490–504.


Reason for your decision Why is it important for you? Why is it important for you?
To ensure that my colleague got justice It would make me happier to know that I saved someone who was innocent. Failure to save him would leave me with a feeling of guilt
To ensure that those who were planning evil against my colleague got justice for their action Living with them would arouse fear in me Getting them reprimanded for their mistakes would help me feel safer. I would stop fearing that they will do the same to others in the organization including myself
To free myself. I would feel pressurized to work with people for whom I would always be required to keep a secret. Their being reprimanded would mean that I would stop being accountable to them. There was a chance that they would be changed to better persons in the society
To help correct the guilty persons Protecting the lives of wrong doers prevents them from changing for the better. It would be sad to have a friend deteriorate in terms of discipline and manners because I cannot take action.
To participate in creation of a more just society I feel there is always a need for every one of us to participate in the creation of a more just society. If any one of us failed, the society would have failed, the society would have failed and would be required to live with the consequences The consequences of living in a society in which I am guilty of helping in the creation of is an unforgivable act.


The dilemma involves either choosing to hide the acts of an evil friend or protecting an innocent person. I believe that my decision to tell the truth would be mostly affected by my self-respect. The decision would be highly charged by the fact that I would not want to be associated with supporting the wrong doers at the expense of someone who was innocent. People who have a high self-esteem are more likely to be ethical (Bucaro 2013; Cohen, 2007; Bellamy, 2008). Such people put the risk involved in obtaining justice behind the justice itself. They feel that their decision is vital for the way a case goes and therefore opt to make the most positive contribution towards it. However, other factors would also play a part in my choosing to take action to save my colleague.

First, I would feel guilty for facilitating a wrong doing to take place. The very act of making it possible for evidence to be declared sufficiently incriminating as to warrant someone who is innocent to be declared guilty would be very hard to live with. Compared to allowing people who are guilty to be arrested would count far lesser compared to that even if they were very close friends.

In conclusion, the need to do the right thing, probably in the face of society can make me make an ethical decision. Some people would be more comfortable protecting their friendship or their own security. However, I would trust the justice system to protect, the society, my colleague and myself in such a dilemma situation. I think helping find justice for an innocent person would help me to obtain better friends than those I would be protecting by choosing to say no


Bellamy, A. J. (2008). Fighting terror: Ethical dilemmas. London: Zed Books.

Bucaro, F. (2013). Importance of Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Personnel. Retrieved from

Cohen, M. (2007). 101 ethical dilemmas. London: Routledge.

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