Creating a Culture of Ethical Behavior

Facts of the article

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How to avoid unethical behavior within organizations and how to make ethical decisions are two of the most critical issues in the leadership decision-making paradigm for us to consider. To avoid unethical issues, “proactive creation of a company culture of ethical behavior is the key to minimizing the problem” (Cummings, 2009, p. 20). It is also discussed that there has been an increase in unethical employee behavior among companies. To combat this, she stresses: “creating an organizational culture of ethical behavior means enlisting all employees and managers to be responsible for everyone’s behavior. When there is a culture of ethical behavior, managers, employees and the public understand the expectation that the organization is placing on itself to conduct business honestly and fairly” (Cummings, 2009, p. 20).

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More facts/success factors 

When an organizational culture of ethical behavior is created it allows the company’s values, leaders’ decisions and values of employees to be aligned (Cummings, 2009). A code of conduct for employees should also be created, which consists of guidelines for what is right, a system to measure how effective the company’s ethics initiatives are, rewards for employees who follow the ethical guidelines, support for those who make ethical decisions, and training for employees to make ethical decisions (Cummings, 2009).

Cummings stresses that leaders need to provide outlets and processes for employees to report unethical behavior.  Ultimately, the leader’s job is to make sure employees are aware of the organization’s ethical guidelines, expectations, values, etc. It is also important for the leader to display ethical behavior to their employees. “Before the organization starts a program to create a culture of ethical behavior, it should know how well employees and customers perceive that management is acting consistently with those value statements and code of conduct” (Cummings, 2009, p. 22).

Additional article

In the Blackshaw article, “ethics is concerned with how we ought to act in order to be moral; and to this extent it refers to the moral code of anindividual, a cultural group or a society” (Blackshaw, 2009). It also goes on to explain how important a code of ethics is for an organization to have. Having set rules and regulations are vital for a company to make ethical decisions. This article has a focus on ethics for researchers and poses several questions in regards to if “being ethical in the field merely imply being obedient and rule-abiding” and how one should act if their personal morals and ethics don’t align with the organization’s that they work for (Blackshaw, 2009).

Additional article

The Tasdoven article discusses the steps leaders need to take when making an ethical decision and the various approaches one can use to come to a decision. Tasdoven stresses that in order to make an ethical decision a leader must recognize the issue at hand and gather as much information about it as possible, brainstorm every possible solution and keep those in mind who will be affected by the decision, think of alternative decisions and be able to make the best, most ethical decision. Different approaches can be made to help leaders in this process as well. One approach considers what option will benefit the most people and harm the least amount of people, one strictly considers rules, regulations and obligations related to the company’s policies and the other approach is used when the leader bases their decision off their personal morals and ethics (Tasdoven, 2014).

Hard Facts or Emotion?/Emotional Intelligence 

That being said, each article has a different perspective on the ways leaders should make decisions. Whether they are using hard facts or emotions to make a decision should depend upon the issue they are faced with in my decision. Leaders with higher emotional intelligence are typically seen as better leaders and decision makers. Emotional intelligence is defined “as a set of four mental abilities pertaining to the perception, use, understanding, and regulation of emotion” (Brackett & Casey, 2009). The Cummings and Blackshaw articles stress the importance of using both facts and emotions, Brackett really emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence and Tasdoven focuses using hard facts until an approach to decide is chosen, in which either hard facts or emotions could then be used. I do think that leaders who use a little of both when making decisions will end up being more successful.

How Ethics Influences Decisions 

What I’ve learned from these articles clearly demonstrates that when leaders take ethics and morals, whether personal or organizational, into consideration it definitely influences decisions that they make. Instead of just making a quick decision, much more information is taken into consideration and more time is invested when ethics are involved, which in my opinion, leads to better decisions.


Blackshaw, T. (2009). Ethics. In S. H. Callahan, The SAGE dictionary of leisure studies. London, UK: Sage UK. Retrieved from

Brackett, M. A., Brackett, & Casey. (2009). Emotional intelligence. In H. T. Reis, & S. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from

Cummings, Judith. “Creating a culture of ethical behavior: protecting yourself and your business from unethical behavior.” Alaska Business Monthly, Mar. 2009, p. Retrieved from: 

Tasdoven, H. (2014). Ethical decision making. In S. Thompson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of diversity and social justice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from


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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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