Moral Objection: What Happens When You Stand up to Wrongdoing?
Moral objection is when we see someone doing something wrong or unethical and we stand up to that person in protest. Because unethical behavior such as bullying, discrimination, or financial crimes occurs so regularly in the workplace, employees are often in position to engage in moral objection. Sometimes employees may be reluctant to speak up for fear of counter-bullying or other formal or informal sanctions that may be used against them in retaliation. Yet, at other times, employees may take principled action and will be seen as heroes for standing up to wrongdoing. What motivates these two dissimilar responses to people who morally object?
The Hidden Danger of Narcissistic Leaders
Narcissistic leaders can bring down an organization even when they are trying to build it up. Work by Galvin, Lange, and Ashforth (2015) uses extant organizational research findings to propose a new theory that may explain why this is so. They say that something called narcissistic organizational identification is to blame, and they demonstrate several ways that it happens and discuss how we can make sure this phenomenon doesn’t end up ruining businesses.
Ethical Leadership Inspires Trust and Employee Success
Ethical leadership certainly sounds like a good idea, but I-O psychologists will require scientific evidence before being convinced. Is ethical leadership something different from other effective leadership styles or behaviors, and does ethical leadership lead to anything positive in the workplace? New research (Ng & Feldman, 2015) has answered this question. Results show that ethical leadership is a real, distinct idea, and it can indeed lead to positive workplace outcomes that extend beyond the effects of other leadership styles.
Ethics in the Workplace: Anxious Employees May Cause Trouble
The factors that affect ethics in the workplace are not as simple as they may seem. For example, imagine that you arrive at work a few minutes late because a large traffic accident caused commuting delays. You finally get settled at your desk and are ready to take on the day, when you get an email saying that your boss wants to see you immediately. The email is vague and does not state why your boss wants to see you. Perhaps she knows you arrived to work late. Maybe she has concerns about the report you turned in yesterday. Suddenly, you feel anxious, nervous, and ill at ease.
The workplace is replete with daily events, like the one described above, that provoke anxiety for employees. Although these events may be common, that does not mean they are benign; in fact, the consequences of workplace anxiety may be quite severe for organizations and individuals. A series of studies conducted by Kouchaki and Desai (2015) suggests that when employees experience anxiety at work they may also feel threatened, and as a result, are more likely to engage in unethical behavior.
Corporate Ethics: Good Behavior Leads to Less Turnover
Corporate ethics are always a hot news topic, especially when multi-millionaires are shamefully led away in handcuffs due to widespread criminal behavior. When “cooking the books” or other illegalities can threaten to destroy or tarnish the reputation of any company, ethics and morality need to be at the forefront of organizational concerns. New research (May, Chang, & Shao, 2015) sheds new light on the advantages of businesses engaging in morally responsible behavior. It’s not merely that they avoid the harmful consequences of being caught, but there may be inherent advantages to being an ethical organization, especially in regards to employee behavior.
Unethical Employees May Have Been Socially-Ostracized at Work
Unethical employees can plague a workplace, costing companies money as well as their reputations. But organizations don’t always have fool-proof ways to combat unethical behavior. New research by Kouchaki and Wareham (2015) has identified one type of workplace activity that may lead employees to increase unethical behavior. Using state-of-the-art equipment, they were able to measure physiological changes in certain employees that may have caused them to act unethically. So what is the culprit? What makes certain employees act unethically?
How Forgiveness in the Workplace Can Harm Relationships
We think of forgiveness in the workplace as a way to reduce tension or maintain relationships. The act of forgiveness can help both victim and victimizer feel better about the wrongdoing that occurred, and in some cases even strengthen the relationship. However, new research (Adams, Zou, Inesi, & Pillutla, 2015) shows that there are some forms of forgiveness that can backfire and prove detrimental to relationships in the workplace.
How Emotional Expression Affects Workplace Attitudes and Opinions
Whether we like it or not, emotions can be a powerful force when it comes to making workplace decisions. This tendency can be exploited when an argument is framed in emotional terms in order to persuade listeners. While this fact has been recognized for centuries, recent research has been investigating how emotional expression can shape or change others’ attitudes. For example, think of a disgruntled colleague expressing anger at a new policy change within the organization. Would this display of strong emotion affect your attitude and opinions? Recent research (Van Kleef, van der Berg & Heerdink, 2014) explored how emotional expressions influence attitude formation, and helped determine under which circumstances this could happen.
How Unethical Customers Cost Organizations Twice
Unethical customers can cost organizations lots of money. For example, customers can steal, cheat, scam, defraud, hoodwink, or make up an overly dramatic story about how the soup of the day was far too salty so that they get a small discount. New research (Greenbaum, Quade, Mawritz, Kim, & Crosby, 2014) shows that there may be hidden costs to organizations that allow customers to consistently get away with these offenses. Specifically, it’s the employees who suffer.
Sleep Deprived Employees Engage in More Unethical Workplace Behavior
When employees engage in unethical behavior, organizations suffer. For example, employee theft or dishonesty can hurt organizations both internally and in terms of public reputation. New research (Welsh, Ellis, Christian, & Mai, 2014) has identified several key links in understanding the dynamics that lead to employee deception, which is a type of unethical behavior.