Academic Master


Ethics in Workplace


Ethics in a workplace instructs a few simple rules to be carried out, and these instructions accompany the basic understanding of incorporating integrity, honesty, and loyalty toward the practice of doing the right thing. These conditions can truly be met in a workplace that provides a stable and healthy working environment, however, ideally achieving a state such as this may require cooperation from both ends, i.e. employee and employer. The paper provided accompanies situations with elements contributing towards unethical conditions. This reflection paper will look into the conflicting goals that motivate unethical behavior within the workplace.


An analysis of the motivators of unethical behavior will highlight the practices and mechanics through which these can either be suppressed or removed from an organization’s workplace. The reading indicates that conflicting goals arise due to employees creating a habit of creating shortcuts for themselves. The habit of cutting corners in order to achieve performance goals or objectives that would otherwise be difficult to achieve from their perspective. This eventually leads to a loss of trust between employee and their management and a habitual breach of ethical practices at the workplace.

In consideration of the above-mentioned points, a workplace environment that promotes a culture where misconduct goes unnoticed, tolerated, or encouraged will eventually result in a higher employee turnover. This may also include the employees having a lower motivational level, displaying lesser productivity, and being mostly a criterion for diminishing reputation (Fleischman et al., 2017). Proof of this is in the report generated that listed a total of forty-one United States employees who stated they noticed situations where unethical or illegal misconduct was being promoted at the workplace. Actions such as these have a widespread influence, attracting others to adopt the unethical culture as well.

A major contributor towards unethical practices being adopted by the workforce can be linked to the general perceptions employees have for the financial success of a company. However, this fact was put to the test during the financial recession crisis of 2008. These conditions can likely raise the competition in the organization, pushing employees to the extent of surpassing their normal, ethical standards to over-perform in order to accomplish their goals. An observation into this dilemma for workplace-related issues stated that culture acts as a catalyst towards either creating a fully motivated, positive environment for the employees or a negative one (Kilduff, Galinsky & Reade 2016). Another factor of influence is that of managers in the workplace.

However, it is seen to be among the excessively debated topics of whether managers provide an inclination for an employee to adopt unethical practices or not. It has been noted, as mentioned in the reading as well, that managers play an active part in influencing an employee. A manager who indulges in the habit of misconduct is likely to motivate the employee towards adopting the same practice as well (Overall 2018). Another aspect of a survey from 2007 revealed that employees who report the misconduct of their superiors fear an act of retaliation, and the other four are afraid of the consequences that follow for not reporting it. Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, the founder of YOLO Insights, also commented on this part by stating that if incidents like this had been reported earlier, most of the things could have been easily avoided, as well as avoiding the declining morale among employees and the high turnover factor.


Ethics lays down the simple principle of following the right set of practices to complete the given goals and objectives; however, in a real environment, an employee is bound to be influenced by unethical practices as well. This is usually the case when employees find themselves in a competitive environment with challenging or almost unachievable goal criteria, and the means to accomplish these goals is only through cutting corners or finding the easiest possible routes that incorporate the habit of unethical practices. Conflicting goals are found to be prevalent in organizations that either exhibit a bad influence from managers, goals or objectives, and a challenging work environment. These can easily be avoided through establishing proper communication channels with employees and assessing their problems in a caring manner.


Fleischman, G. M., Johnson, E. N., Walker, K. B., & Valentine, S. R. (2017). Ethics Versus Outcomes: Managerial Responses to Incentive-Driven and Goal-Induced Employee Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-17.

Kilduff, G. J., Galinsky, A. D., Gallo, E., & Reade, J. J. (2016). Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 59(5), 1508-1534.

Overall, J. (2018). All around the mulberry bush: a theory of cyclical unethical behavior. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 20(2), 251-267.



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