unethical behaviour

Topics: Ethics, Tony Hayward, Leadership Pages: 8 (2660 words) Published: September 29, 2014

The Leaders unethical behaviours in Organizations

Leadership and Management in Organizations, 7,5 hp
Autumn 2013

The Leaders unethical behaviours in Organizations


The ethical behaviour and the moral goodness of leaders has been a topic of analysis for centuries. The moral character and the ethical practice of the organization have become an increasing concern for leadership researches in the aftermath of the global financial crises and earlier well-published corporate scandals (Jackson and Parry, 2011). One of the scandals that is brought up in this paper is British Petroleum (BP), a company that is a corporate that is considered to be unethical

Within organizations, ethical behaviour such as office policies is considered to be practise every day. Researcher and practitioners alike discuss the whether office politics is necessary behaviour within organizations.

The purpose of this paper is set out to analyze the ethical behaviour within the organizations, and discuss the world’s third largest energy company British Petroleum’s (BP), stance on ethics and corporate social responsibility.

The following question will be examined: Why do leaders act unethically? Is the unethical behaviour necessary or is it a distraction from work?

In order to analyze this subject, the paper is divided into different sections. The first section ‘the theoretical framework’, presents mainly Jackall’s (2010) and Hill’s (2003) view on office politics and the ethical leadership. ’The empirical framework’ is presented with British Petroleum (BP), a company that is a corporate that is considered to be unethical. In the analysis, the theoretical framework is compared to the BP’s spill oil disaster in 2010 and the conclusion there are a final statement and recommendations for further research.

Theoretical framework

Jackall’s book Moral Mazes (2010) present moral dilemmas of corporate managers in American organizations. His finding were based on interviews with managers of two large industrial firms and a large PR agency. He present mid-level managers powers and action, and how the followers under him/her should respond in order to claim the corporate ladder. Jackall claims that hard work (defined as “only” doing your business tasks) is not paying off, and it is not a way for employees to advance their career. Instead of doing the “right” assigned tasks, the employee have to play an organizational game to fit in and climb the corporate ladder. “What is right in the corporation, is not what is right in a man’s home or in his church. What is right in the corporation is what the guy above wants from you” (Jackall, 2010:115),

Furthermore, the same manager continue state that there are five important implied fundamental rules of office politics in an organization: “(1) you never go around your boss. (2) You tell your boss what he wants to hear, even when you boss claim that he wants dissenting views (3) if your boss wants something dropped, you drop it. (4) You are sensitive to your boss’s wishes so that you anticipate what he wants: you don’t force him, in other words, to act as boss (5) Your job is not to report something that your boss does not want reported, but rather to cover it up. You do what your job requires, and you keep your mouth shut” (Jackall 2010:115).

Ciulla (1998, referred in Jackson and Parry, 2011:114 ) noted that leadership is a morally laden social construction and the leaders is someone who reflect what people in a certain place and time think they should be like.

Hill (2003) who is a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, has studied first-time mid-level managers career. After working for six month, managers stated that even though their superior has talked to them about the value of office politics and the value of building and maintaining relationships with others in the organization the managers...
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