Why does unethical behavior occur?

ethicsWhy does unethical behavior occur?

Within each organizational structure there are set expectations of behaviors and standards that employees adhere to.  Whether, government, not-for-profit, or private sector there are established codes of conduct that help guide conducts and minimize unwarranted unethical behaviors.  However, we do know that this does not guarantee how employees will behave.  Within an organization’s culture there are implicit behaviors that walk the line of what is considered ethical and unethical.  I believe that leadership is responsible for modeling ethical behavior and any deviation in their conduct, will open the Pandora ’s Box for others to do the same. The perceived misconduct sets a precedent that it is acceptable to behave unethically.

However, the question is why?  Tosi (2009), explains Marx theories of subjectivity alienation, class consciousness and resistance, which are derived from Marx’s ideas that the evolution of our capitalist society is exploitive and oppressive, thus creating a worker mentality of integration without questioning the status quo.  Marx’s theories speak to the changes capitalism brings to the workforce and how it subjects people to become labor competitors and subjects to their efficacy and output.   As people become dehumanized their moral compass is compromised.  Unethical behaviors are then derived from a primal sense of fear, need for survival, and competition.  As the unethical behavior takes place we are more likely to justify the behavior. Being ethical is a choice we all have to make when those moments come to test our values and morals.

What will you do? And who will you be?


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