Managing Employee Misbehaviour for Promoting Business Ethics

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 14 (4696 words) Published: January 8, 2012
Managing Employee Misbehaviour for Promoting Business Ethics Workplace misbehaviour:
Any intentional action by members of organizations that defies and violates Shared organizational norms and expectations, and/or Core societal values, mores and standards of proper conduct (Vardi and Wiener, 1996, p.153). Misbehaviour in this sense is also said to be about breaching broader, yet far from clearly defined or fully shared societal norms or moral order. In industrial sociology key writers on misbehaviour – Ackroyd and Thompson (1999, p. 2) – borrow Sprouse's (1992, p. 3) definition of sabotage – “anything you do at work you are not supposed to do” – to define misbehaviour, although questions remain about how useful this definition is. Perspectives on misbehaviour

Misbehaviour is also a phenomena discussed in several other academic disciplines. For instance, in gender studies, we see quite a distinct dimension of misbehaviour emerging. Misbehaviour in gender studies tends to concern males defending masculine identities in an organizational context and how masculinity is in reality a crucial, yet often hidden dimension of a broader organizational identity (Collinson and Collinson, 1989; DiTomaso, 1989; Levin, 2001). An account of men trying to preserve the dominance of a masculine identity, sponsored implicitly by senior management, is outlined in the following passage taken from ethnography of a trading floor of a large, American commodities exchange: When the working environment becomes less active, the more overtly sexualized repertoire of joking and getting along emerges. Men and women use jokes to pass time, fit in and relieve tension, but a direct result of men’s sexual banter is to facilitate group solidarity among men to the exclusion of women. Strong heterosexual joking is predicated on men being the sexual agents of jokes and women being the objects (Levin, 2001, p. 126). Further dimensions of gender-related misbehaviour include women subverting dominant masculine identities (Cockburn, 1991; Game and Pringle, 1983; Gutek, 1989; Pollert, 1981), women taking advantage of their sex appeal to get around male supervisors (Pollert, 1981) and female flight attendants feigning responses to lurid comments from male passengers (Hochschild, 2003). Further details of Gutek’s (1989) research highlights the many ways in which sexuality can be the spur for a range of misbehaviour: More common than sexual coercion from either sex are sexual jokes, use of explicit terms to describe work situations, sexual comments to co-workers, and display of sexual posters and pictures engaged in by men at work (Sex and sports, some observers claim, are the two metaphors of business.) The use of sex can be more subtle than either hostile sexual remarks or sexual jokes. Although this tactic is often assumed to be used exclusively by women, some men, too, may feign sexual interest to gain some work-related advantage (1989, p. 63-64). Commentary on what could be interpreted to be misbehaviour is also a feature of industrial relations research. In industrial relations theorists seem to view misbehaviour as a lesser version of strike action, or action short of strike action (Bean, 1975; Blyton and Turnbull, 2004; Hyman, 1981; Nichols and Armstrong, 1976). From this perspective, misbehaviour is taken to represent the actions of unorganized employees. In effect, misbehaviour is synonymous with a widespread and increasing inability of employees to offer a coherent and organized response to management strategies (Beynon, 1984). As such, industrial relations theorists link misbehaviour to record low levels of strike activity (Hale, 2007). Moreover, some theorists believe acts such as sabotage – in the form of grievance bargaining or deliberate poor workmanship – are intimately bound up in the labour process (Zabala, 1989). Research work in Ethics:

National Government Ethics Survey Shows Employee Misconduct is...
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