What effects do CEOs, regulations, entrepreneurship, national culture and algorithms have on ethical attitudes? See this week’s articles to find out more.
Multiple factors influence ethical attitudes
Ethical attitudes and behaviour are complex. This complexity extends to the influencers operating at different levels both outside and within the organisation, and in different combinations for different individuals. There is hence a growing need to understand the proximal and distal influencers of ethical attitudes, and how these operate in concert at the individual, organisational, and societal levels.
Few studies have attempted to combine these main research streams and systematically examine their combined impact. The minority of studies that have taken a combined approach have often done so using conventional statistical and analytical techniques which imply linearity between variables—a situation that rarely exists in business settings and is likely to lead to simplistic or even erroneous conclusions.
Applying a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach, this paper reports on the mutual and simultaneous influence of individual demographic factors (gender, education), as well as proximal and distal factors stemming from within and outside the work environment (e.g. treatment by one’s supervisor, country-level indicators of corruption perceptions) to understand individuals’ ethical views within the workplace (n = 525).
The multiple configurations that emerged reveal the complex nature of influencers of ethical attitudes and reinforce the view that “one size does not fit all”. The authors discuss these implications together with managerial recommendations and future research directions.
Nicole A. Celestine, Catherine Leighton and Chris Perryer. 2020. A Multifocal and Integrative View of the Influencers of Ethical Attitudes Using Qualitative Configurational Analysis.
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(1), 103–122.
CEOs: Is corporate intergroup responsibility part of CEOs’ ethical leadership?
Is reducing large-scale intergroup conflict the business of corporations? Although large corporations can use their power and prominence to reduce intergroup conflict in society, it is unclear to what extent stakeholders support corporate Intergroup Responsibility (CIR).
Study 1 showed that support for CIR correlates in theoretically meaningful ways with relevant economic, social, and moral attitudes, including fair market ideology, consumer support for corporate social responsibility (CSR), social dominance orientation, symbolic racism, and moral foundations. Studies 2 and 3 employed experimental designs to test the hypothesis that business leaders who advocate for intergroup tolerance boost perceptions of corporations and their leaders as moral, just, and fair, which in turn, increases stakeholders’ support for CIR.
The authors found support for this hypothesis across two highly publicised and contentious events related to racial conflict in the U.S.: The White supremacy rally in Charlottesville and the federal government’s announcement about the planned rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.
Specifically, exposing participants to real-world tweets by CEOs who advocated intergroup tolerance following these events increased participants’ support for CIR. This effect was mediated by heightened perceptions of corporations and their leaders as moral, just, and fair. Taken together, these findings enhance understanding of the factors that shape stakeholders’ reactions to CIR; highlight intergroup conflict as an emerging arena for CSR; and illustrate the power of ethical intergroup leadership.
Nir Halevy, Sora Jun and Eileen Y. Chou. 2020. Intergroup Conflict is Our Business: CEOs’ Ethical Intergroup Leadership Fuels Stakeholder Support for Corporate Intergroup Responsibility.
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(1), 229–246.
Regulations: Getting to a legitimate compliance culture in the UK financial service sector
Over the last decade, scandals within the UK Financial Service sector have impacted their legitimacy and raised questions whether a compliance culture exists or not. Several institutional changes at the regulatory and normative levels have targeted stakeholders’ concerns regarding compliance culture and led to changes in the legitimation process.
This paper attempts to address a gap in the literature by asking the following question: How is the UK financial institutions’ compliance culture shaped by the institutional environment and changing legitimacy claims? Towards achieving this objective, the paper draws on the institutional theory and pays attention to the various configurations of the legitimacy notion (property vs process Suddaby et al. Acad Manag Ann 11(1):451–478; 2017).
The paper utilises a longitudinal interpretive design and undertakes a qualitative content analysis of fines issued by the UK regulator and the communicated response of violating firms as well as non-sanctioned firms. The findings indicate that there is a cyclical ‘evolutionary compliance’ rather than the more widely recognised state of ‘compliance culture’.
This culture is fuelled by interchangeable isomorphic forces where the majority of violating firms are seen to issue similar responses to the regulators sanction to maintain their reputation and legitimacy in the market. Notably, legitimacy is now defined within an interactive process between the regulator and firms rather than being static and achieved by ticking the box.