Ethical Pressures



Several authors have documented the apparent connection among the differing ethical views of employees and their organisation and job satisfaction, organisational commitment and turnover (Cable and Judge 1996, Kristof 1996 e.t.c). These differing ethical views include conflicts in values, behavioural expectations, attitudes and some goals.

The article documents several works that appear to agree that ethical conflicts was very prevalent and provide statistics that over 60% of employees (managers and lower level employees) have at one time or the other been made to settlement their individual values to accomplish organisational goals.

The cost of ethical conflicts on employee attitude, speculative as they might be is based on the theory of cognitive conflict. This income cases translates to high turnover as the individuals involved might choose to resign or withdraw so as to avoid the stress experienced(Janson and Von Glinow 1985). According to Shafer (2002) who found that there was a “powerful connection between a moral argument and an outcome for example job dedication as well as a revenue intention” within management accountants.

An article also suggests that individuals with ‘relativistic moral beliefs' might be doing well in cope by means of the pressures associated with dealing with or engaging in unethical behaviour in the workplace to meet organisational goals.

What was explored?

Looking at organisational promise and an intention to depart the organisation, the study attempts to investigate how employee attitudes are affected by force to participate in immoral work behaviour and a relativistic ethical view.

The study does not rely on any theories or models but instead tests three sets of hypotheses:

The null hypotheses;

There is no relation between relativistic decent philosophy and organisational promise.

There is no relation among the relativistic ethical philosophy and intensions to go away the organisation.

The next set of hypothesises is:

A greater perceptible ethical force will be related with low-ranking organisational commitment

Greater apparent ethical force will be allied with elevated intention to leave the organisation

Third set of hypotheses is:

A greater professed of moral force will be linked in the direction of low-ranking organisational promise for workforce who consider in entire ethical system, but superficial moral force will not be linked on the way to organisational promise for employees who believe principles are connected each other.

Greater superficial moral force will be linked to privileged intentions on the way to depart the organisation for employees who trust in complete ethical policy, but apparent moral force will not be linked to aim to go away the organisation for employees who trust ethics are relative.

From an original random sample of 500 business administration graduates of an American university from (1983-1995), 161 surveys were used in this coursework.

What be found?

The most insignificant judgment of this research was the important communication between moral forces along with relativistic ethical philosophy. This shows that believing that ethics are relative will apparently aid in coping more successfully with the anxiety to make immoral choices to meet organisational goals. This was reflected by only reasonable diminish in their stage of organisational assurance as the experienced an increase in ethical pressure. On the other hand, employees with a universal moral view appeared to find it more difficult to cope with complying with ethical pressures at work.

Article examined against other literature

The findings of this research appear to agree with the findings of other authors such as Roozen et al. (2001) and Tansey et al. (1994). Allen and Meyer (1990) however point out that not all employees would be able to leave an organisation due to ethical conflict. Certainly in the current economic climate one would expect that even universal moralists would be reluctant to leave their organisations.


Overall, the article is well presented and well supported by references. There is however a reliance on older articles thereby questioning the relevance of the article to present day organisations in view of the current economic challenges and the developments in corporate social responsibility.


It would be interesting to see how this study relates to workplaces and organisations in this current recession climate. Would the relationship between ethical conflicts and turnover still remain significant?

In practice, managers who are able to identify employees with a universal moral view and resolve any areas of conflict might have a lowere turnover and greater organisational commitment from these employees.


In conclusion, the ethical orientation of an employee determines their perception of ethical conflicts and how they are able to cope with the associated pressures. Employees with a relativistic ethical view are better able to cope with any pressures placed on them by their organisations and less likely to want to leave the organisation.


Allen, N. J., and Meyer, J. P. (1990): The measurement of antecedents of affective, continuance and normative commitment to the organisation. Journal of Occupational Psychology, Vol.63, pp1-18

Cable, D. M., and Judge, T. A. (1996): Person-organisation fit, job choice decisions, and organisational entry. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, Vol.67, pp294-311

Janson, E. and Von Glinow, M. A. (1985): Ethical ambivalence and organisational reward systems. Academy of Management Review. Vol.10, pp814-822

Kristof, A.L. (1996): Person-organisational fit: an integrative review of its conceptualizations, measurement, and implications. Personnel Psychology, Vol.49, pp.1-49.

Roozen, I., DePelsmacker,P and Bostyn, F.(2001): The ethical dimensions of decision processes of employees. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol.33, pp87-99

Shafer, W.E.(2002): Ethical pressure, organisational-professional conflict, and related work outcomes among management accountants. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol.38, pp.263-275

Tansey, R., Brown, G., Hyman, M.R. and Dawson, L.E. (1994): Personal moral philisophies and the moral judgements of sales people. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. Vol.14, pp.59-75.

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