The ethical context in organizations: Influences on employee attitudes and behaviors

Linda K. Trevino, Kenneth D. Butterfield, Donald L. McCabe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This field survey focused on two constructs that have been developed to represent the ethical context in organizations: ethical climate and ethical culture. We first examined issues of convergence and divergence between these constructs through factor analysis and correlational analysis. Results suggested that the two constructs are measuring somewhat different, but strongly related dimensions of the ethical context. We then investigated the relationships between the emergent ethical context factors and an ethics-related attitude (organizational commitment) and behavior (observed unethical conduct) for respondents who work in organizations with and without ethics codes. Regression results indicated that an ethical culture-based dimension was more strongly associated with observed unethical conduct in code organizations while climate-based dimensions were more strongly associated with observed unethical conduct in non-code organizations. Ethical culture and ethical climate-based factors influenced organizational commitment similarly in both types of organizations. Normative implications of the study are discussed, as are implications for future theorizing, research and management practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNext Phase of Business Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationIntegrating Psychology and Ethics
PublisherJAI Press
Pages301-337
Number of pages37
ISBN (Print)0762308095, 9780762308095
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001

Publication series

NameResearch in Ethical Issues in Organizations
Volume3
ISSN (Print)1529-2096

    Fingerprint

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this

Trevino, L. K., Butterfield, K. D., & McCabe, D. L. (2001). The ethical context in organizations: Influences on employee attitudes and behaviors. In Next Phase of Business Ethics: Integrating Psychology and Ethics (pp. 301-337). (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations; Vol. 3). JAI Press.