Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Alexander Nill
Chapter 4: The influence of ethics institutionalization on ethical decision making in marketing
Ethical problems in business have generated considerable interest in ethics research in recent decades, and the corporate world is also paying close attention to ethical issues. In fact it has been argued that ethics and social responsibility issues should be included as part of the overall corporate culture since they are beneficial for businesses as well as being the ‘right thing’ to do (Singhapakdi 1999). Marketing ethics theories generally recognize that the ethical culture of an organization can have a profound impact on the decision-making processes of employees when faced with situations involving ethical issues (for example, Ferrell and Gresham 1985; Hunt and Vitell 1986; Dubinsky and Loken 1989; Wotruba 1990). Further, there have been numerous attempts to conceptualize and test the potential impacts of the different aspects of organizational ethical culture. For example, Hunt et al. (1989, p. 79) conceptualized corporate ethical values as ‘a composite of the individual ethical values of managers and both the formal and informal policies on ethics of the organization.’ In the management literature, Victor and Cullen (1988, p. 101) conceptualized a similar construct, ethical work climate, as the ‘prevailing perceptions of typical organizational practices and procedures that have ethical content.’ In essence these authors have argued that ethical work climate is a composite of the perceptions of its members of ethical practices in an organization.
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