A Historical Perspective Approach for Practicing Managers to Improve Ethics

A Historical Perspective Approach for Practicing Managers to Improve Ethics

McKee, Larry L

Executive Summary

Ethical behavior in the workplace continues to present itself as a major challenge for practicing managers. Managers often seek answers about what can be done in promoting high levels of ethical behavior in their organizations. The paper discusses and presents a historical perspective in developing a holistic and qualitative approach to ethical behavior by evaluating both organizational and individual aspects of ethics. Emerging from the qualitative evaluation, the paper provides a realistic and practical new model for practicing managers to use in their review of their organizations and its employees. Therefore, the use of the new model, in conjunction with force field analysis by practicing managers, will provide not only a strategy but also a qualitative analytical technique for improving ethical behavior and initiating appropriate change.

In the study of ethics, it becomes apparent that numerous avenues of thought may be explored. Therefore, the practicing manager must first grasp an array of ethical concepts and general issues pertaining to ethics. This must first be accomplished before moving forward in formulating a practical approach for improving ethics that is founded from a historical perspective.

In one’s quest for finding and maintaining that all-important competitive edge, each employee will be challenged in helping establish the ethical standard of the organization. How can ethical dilemmas that will formulate be reduced when individuals in the organization are asked to make difficult decisions that require ethical fortitude? “The organization should also demonstrate ethical courage-doing the right thing when the stakes are high, along with always trying to seek to move the organization toward goodness” (Larimer, 1997, p. 5). How can managers facilitate the opportunity for good ethical decisions within an organization?

Adhering to those organizational standards, while maintaining their individual ethical standards, creates a considerable challenge. Weaver, Trevino, and Cochran (1999) stated that The scope of corporations’ ethics program is defined as the number of different ethics program elements included in the formal ethics management effort. Broad scoped programs include dedicated staff, supporting structures and policies, and extensive employee involvement, while programs with a limited scope, on the other hand, have little, if any, staff and few supporting structures. (p. 41)

Additionally, managers should take into consideration that ethical behavior is “acting in ways consistent with one’s personal values and the commonly held values of the organization and society” (Nelson & Quick, 1994, p. 129).

Therefore, managers must use a historical perspective from both the public and private sector and then apply a holistic, individual and organization- wide, approach as well as a practical approach. By combining a historical perspective of the organizational and individual concepts in the quest for reducing ethical dilemmas, managers can help identify opportunities for improved ethical behavior using a qualitative model.

Individual and Group Ethics

When managers focus on individuals, one finds a continuing challenge in resolving dilemmas and enhancing the opportunity for good ethical behavior. “Ethics is a very complex subject that is discussed in the workplace today. Many companies look for their new hires to have some form of ethical behaviors. Recent college graduates often enter the workplace with very underdeveloped ethical standards” (Lordan, 1997, p. 29). Therefore, a call for the highest ethical standards has never been more profound. “If asked, most top managers would likely agree that they are committed to ethics, but this commitment can easily be lost in situations in which managers are expected to deliver increasing returns to shareholders and to stay ahead of the competition” (Weaver, et al., 1999, p. 41). “Eighty percent of executives said they believed managers choose profits over what’s right when forced to decide between the two” (Godin, 1995, p. 45). Additionally, Patricia Digh (1998), in her book The “I” in Ethics, points to the disturbing fact that “50 percent of respondents in a survey have observed or engaged in workplace behavior that violated some organizational standards of ethical conduct” (p. 105). Individual ethical training and provoking ethical thought are perhaps a prescription for dealing individually with ethical dilemmas. Price Pritchett, in his book The Ethics of Excellence, discusses the importance of routine exercise of our ethical muscle and provides provoking concepts that help train employees in making ethical choices. Pritchett discusses such issues as codes for behavior, the role of conscience, talking out ethical issues with others, ethical debt, and letting pride be your guide. The discussion of these issues helps employees to access their own value system and provides focus to ethical decision making (Pritchett, 1970). After all, “A good statement to remember is that all you have left after a crisis is your conduct during it” (Bell, 1997, p. 81).

Also, “Any successful organization, whether a business or a country, must possess strong shared values. These values must be ‘owned’ by not only the vast majority of the organization, but in some cases by all its members” (Phillips, 1992, p. 53).

From a philosophical viewpoint, several humanistic approaches may be reviewed. Kay Bull and Arthur McGovern (2002), professors of psychology at Oklahoma State University, summarized A. H. Maslow’s contribution to the humanistic existential thinking from Maslow’s 1968 article in the Harvard Educational Review that, “Exploring, manipulating, choosing and experiencing are all attributes of being that can lead the learner to become all that he can be” (p. 4). Bull and McGovern (2002) went on to note from Maslow’s theory that, “. . .teachers should, as far as possible, remove environmental barriers that prevent exploring, manipulating, choosing and experiencing. These things are done in learning to gratify needs” (p. 4).

Carl Rogers (1994) went on to point out that from a humanistic viewpoint . . .if life. . .gives us favorable conditions for continuing our psychological growth, we move on in something of a spiral, developing an approach to values that partakes of the infant’s directness and fluidity but goes far beyond in its richness. In our transactions with experience, we are again the locus or source of valuing; we prefer those experiences that in the long run are enhancing; we partake in all the richness of our cognitive learning and functioning, but at the same time we trust the wisdom of our organism. . . .Openness to experience leads to emerging value directions that appear to be common among individuals and perhaps even across cultures. Stated in older terms, individuals who are thus in touch with their experiencing come to value such directions as sincerity, independence, self-direction, self-knowledge, social responsivity, social responsibility, and loving interpersonal relationships (p. 292).

The importance of openness and freedom of experience is noted by both philosophers in their discussion of humanistical existential thinking. An individual who experiences openness and freedom in their culture may experience greater gratification and be afforded the opportunity for additional value-laden benefits. Additionally, Carl Wellman (1988), in his book Morals and Ethics, stated that, “Ethics becomes practical in the choice situation. It is when an individual must choose between the acts possible in a given situation that he or she can and must put a personal ethical theory into practice” (p. 267). Wellman pointed to several approaches for accessing theories of moral knowledge.

One theory is that of ethical scepticism, where the premise maintained is that . . .there is now way we can know which act is right because no human being can know the truth about right or wrong. The answer is sceptical because it denies the possibility of knowledge; it is ethical scepticism because the sort of knowledge it denies is knowledge of what is morally right or wrong (Wellman, 1988, p. 270).

A second theory is that of ethical relativism. This theory is where “ethical judgments, including judgments of moral right and wrong, are relative rather than absolute” (p. 273). A third theory, that of ethical emotivism, “asserts that normative ethical sentences (sentences saying that something is good or bad, right or wrong) have emotive meaning and denies that such sentences have cognitive meaning” (p. 275).

A fourth theory is that of consulting an authority. “An authority, as defined by the theory of moral knowledge we are considering, is someone whose opinion is especially reliable, someone whose moral judgments are more likely to be correct than those of the average person” (Wellman, 1988, p. 277). Another theory of moral knowledge is that of revelation.

A traditional answer, sometimes associated with the appeal to authority, is that one knows by revelation, that God reveals the difference between right or wrong acts to us. Revelation may come firsthand or secondhand to the individual. God may speak directly to the individual human being; a person’s conscience is often thought of as the voice of God within (p. 279). Also, there is a theory based on the scientific method. “The scientific method is the method of formulating hypotheses and then testing them by experience” (p. 288).

The final theory of moral knowledge is by weighing the reasons. “The reasoning required is a weighing of the pros and cons, a weighing of the reasons for doing the act against the reasons for not doing it” (Wellman, 1988, p. 291). “The goal of any philosopher is intelligibility, understanding, and theoretical grasp. This can be achieved only if his various theories fit together in some sort of pattern that reveals the connections between things” (p. 300). “The practical function of an ethical system is primarily to direct our attention to the relevant considerations, the reasons that determine the Tightness or wrongness of any act” (305). This philosophical base from a humanistic viewpoint provides the practicing manager a basic foundation for focusing upon the organizational system in which individuals are assigned.

When managers take a historical perspective and observe the concepts and foundations of American government, many lessons are available in establishing ethical behavior and doing what’s right in organizations as well as improving the ethical behavior of individuals. One of the cornerstones for maintaining an effective democracy is securing and maintaining high ethical standards. The founders of the U.S. Constitution debated enthusiastically the issue of ethics and its importance in providing an effective and efficient government in their attempt to move away from England and tyranny. Alexander Hamilton expressed considerable concern about the passions of factions and those who would engage in self-serving activities. Alexander Hamiltion, in Number Twenty-Two of the Federalist Papers, stated that “the faith, the reputation, the peace of the whole Union, are thus continually at the mercy of the prejudices, the passions, and the interests of every member of which it is composed” (Fairfield, 1966, p. 56). In government, civil servants are continually reminded of the importance of ethics in maintaining the public trust. Ethical behavior is part of the government culture for reducing self-serving activities.

While individual ethical issues must be addressed, it is important to view a historical perspective of groups within the organization. Alexander Hamilton, again, addressed this issue in Number Seventeen of the Federalist Papers when he stated, “It is a known fact in human nature that its affections are commonly weak in proportion to the distance or diffusiveness of the object. Upon the same principle that a man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood than to the community at large, the people of each state would be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local governments than towards the government of the Union; unless the force of that principle should be destroyed by a much better administration of the latter” (Fairfield, 1966, p. 43).

Hamilton’s eloquent discussion and insight into groups is important when identifying opportunities for improving ethical behavior. The development of shared cultural value must include the individual in groups and the organization must attempt to mirror those shared ethical values.

Private Sector Organizational Ethics

Tim Delany (2003), in The Business Journal of Phoenix, noted that, “Simply having written ethics standards is not enough. Enron had a 64-page code of ethics. Arthur Andersen had its own internal policies, plus reams of external accounting standards. More is needed than forgotten, hidden, or ignored written documents. Smart organizations blow off their codes of ethics by integrating the standards of their regular operations. They constantly seek to promote and support a positive ethical culture…” (p. 1). While organizations strive to structure ethical behavior, it is apparent that an argument could be made that meaningful codes of ethics are difficult to structure. Defining how those codes will be enforced and what is the process administratively presents a major challenge. Often, this administrative process lends itself to delays and inaction in the quest for formal resolution. Weaver, et al. (1999) states:

In a recent survey of large U.S. corporations, it was found that 78 percent of responding companies had codes of ethics, 51 percent had telephone lines for reporting ethical concerns, and 30 percent had offices for dealing with ethics and legal compliance. Corporate ethics officers now have their own professional association, the Ethics Officer Association, with members representing nearly 300 major corporations. One CEO estimated that his company spends one million per year on its ethics and legal compliance programs, (p. 41)

Additionally, the organizations’ quest for that elusive competitive edge has a propensity to develop and foster an atmosphere where ethical dilemmas are nourished. Gareth Jones (1997) pointed out in his book Organizational Theory, that “Left to their own devices, people will pursue their own goals at the expense of collective goals” (p. 201). In a paper by Digh (1998), 50 percent of employees felt pressured in some way by other employees or managers to make concessions in their organizational standards of ethical business conduct in order to achieve high business objectives. Digh cited the top five pressures in the organization as “(1) an overly aggressive financial or business objective, (2) meeting schedule pressures, (3) misconduct within the company, (4) increase the profits, and (5) loyalties to the organization” (p. 105). These pressures may influence our decision-making ability when exercising individual discretion in those decisions within the organization.

When managers turn to historical perspective, it should be noted that Herbert Simon addressed the ethical issue in 1945 in his book Administrative Behavior. Simon discussed social versus organizational values:

When it is recognized that actual decisions must take place in some institutional setting, it can be seen that the ‘correctness’ of any particular decision may be judged from two different standpoints. In the broarder sense, it is ‘correct’ if it consistent with the general social value scale-if its consequences are socially desirable. In the narrower sense, it is ‘correct’ if it consistent with the frame of reference that has been organizational assigned to the decider (p. 199).

Therefore, the organization culture, group culture, and the individual will all play a major role in the type of ethical decisions that will be made within the organization and the number of ethical dilemmas that may be presented when individual values are inconsistent with organziational values.

An additional impact is the effect of acculturation and global business:

Any ethical system has both a vertical lineage and a horizontal topography. The vertical lineage consists in the logical derivations by which ethical or moral conclusions are drawn from more fundamental premises. The ancestors of any ethical system, so to speak, are the reasons that are given to justify accepting its most fundamental assumptions, its basic ethical theories. The parents of any ethical system are those highly general and logically primary theories that are used to infer all the conclusions drawn within that ethical system. Succeeding generations are constituted by the conclusions that are successively drawn from those basic premises (Wellman, 1988, p. 302).

Public Sector and Ethics

If managers look to governmental organizations and their historical process relative to discretion in decision-making, it can be found that a legally mandated openness in the decision making process coupled with a public mandate for the highest ethical standards is viewed as a duty of all public servants to fulfill. Again, it can be seen that a coupling of the organization, organizational groups, and the individual in formulating ethical behavior is required.

Frederic Mosher addressed this ethical issue in government in his book Democracy and the Public Service. Mosher (1968) pointed out that two types of ethical responsibility exist which are objective and subjective.

Objective ethics embodies the general consideration of accountability. A person accepts and executes direction from people in a position of legitimate authority, while subjective responsibility is considered a psychological responsibility. What is important is not the responsibility imposed by law or the higher levels in the organizational chart but to whom and for what one feels responsible and behaves responsibly. Legal accountability can be supplanted by a feeling of responsibility based on loyalty, identification, or merely a person’s own narrow self-interest. (p. 7-9)

George Graham (1924), former president of the Academy of Public Administration, has stated that “moral judgements about the ‘lightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of certain actions must be judged from a common reference point and then measured by their range of departure from a standard. Ethics revolves around the consideration of self-interest versus the public interest” (p. 91).

Additionally, Graham (1924) pointed out that, in government, accountability to citizens is founded in the concept that “rule of law provides a very important framework and significantly affects the actions of government employees. Furthermore, administrative procedures help define the scope of behavior that officials engage in. The issue gets back to the value structure of agency personnel” (p. 91). In general, managers are, again, pointed in the direction of a coupling of organizational structure (rule of law-where due process is required and administrative procedures are present), group ethics, and individual ethics (individual value structure).

Rules of the Game

The type of government that is in place in any given country often mirrors the type of admimstrative processes that becomes the culture of the organization and the norm for acceptable behavior. In a democracy, such as the United States, one finds considerable importance placed on representation, the right to be heard and due process under the opuses of law, which mirror democracy in our administrative process. Within this context, Graham discussed the establishment of the rules of the game in dealing effectively with ethical dilemmas within government organizations. Graham (1924) stated that, “ethical dilemmas arise inevitably and do so within the rules of the game” (p. 91). Dr. Graham developed rules of the game for managers, which may serve as guidelines.

These guidelines attempt to summarize the rule of the game by which men and women, who regard themselves as professional administrators in the public service, try to conduct themselves. They are not authoritative, except to the extent that they may reflect a consensus, or at least preponderant opinion. Although the perspective is that of the “professional,” it is not assumed that ethical obligations of more transient political executives are markedly different (p. 90).

The questions that must be structured within the process of the organization utilizing the rules of the game are “(1) How do we make our input to decisions? (2) What are the limits of compromise in the melding process? (3) How shall we act in carrying out policy implementation?” (p. 91).

The first rule of the game dictates input to decisions, which allows for expression of ethical concerns and inevitable dilemmas. Functioning within this rule, individuals are provided the opportunity to “inform others participating in the decision making processes” (Graham, 1 924, p. 91). “We are provided the opportunity to interpret the data, explain their meaning, argue the case for their impact on policy as you see it, and make sure we have no personal conflict of interest” (p. 91). Graham also points out that an individual’s intensity of advocacy should be gauged by the importance of the issue. Decisions made within this first rule of the game will provide individual employees with adequate input in formulating an ethical decision (Graham, 1924).

The second rule of the game allows individuals to contest a decision. When compromise limits have been exceeded, Dr. Graham (1924) stated that the level of importance is used in the decision for contesting a decision.

Important criteria include (1) that a mistake is being made; (2) judgement is unbiased; (3) consideration of the risk of being forced out of the organization; (4) what will be lost if forced out by the decision outweighs fixture usefulness; and (5) go over your supervisor’s head. (p. 92) Once a decision has been contested, two options remain within this rule of the game. The first option would allow an individual to “uphold, enforce, and comply with the policy within the sphere of responsibility and discretion or exercise the second option.” The second would be to “resign if you cannot accept interpretations by higher administrative authority” (Graham, 1924, p. 92).

The third and final question in following the rules of the game is how should the decision be implemented? Graham (1924) stated that “if a decision is final and legality is not in doubt, carry out the action whether or not you agree with the decision. If legality is in doubt, go slow until legality is determined or ask for transfer” (p. 92). These rules of the game focus primarily on due process within governmental organizations where democracy is the foundation for governing. These rules of the game certainly have application to the private sector business organizations.

Rules of the Game in the Private Sector

In analyzing the applicability of Graham’s rules of the game to private organizations, it should be noted that in a democracy, such as the United States, citizens are empowered with constitutional rights with a balance of power in the structure of our governmental institutions and organizations. A legal base is mandated by the legislative branch, executed by the executive branch and legality determined by the judicial system. The free media scrutinizes all of the processes. Public servants performing duties within this structure are empowered with numerous areas for due process to occur when making ethical decisions and resolving ethical dilemmas.

When utilizing a historical perspective in applying the rules of the game to the private sector, an effort to improve the opportunities for ethical behavior and reduce the opportunity for ethical dilemmas to occur will, hopefully, prevail. However, the private sector functions within a context of considerable independence when compared to governmental organizations. Therefore, additions to the rules of the game must be considered.

The first addition to the basic rules of the game coined by Graham is that of employee empowerment in an atmosphere that is positive for all employees. This addition would support a high level of employee acceptance into the decision making process and accentuate trust among all employees within the private sector organization. Individuals may influence political decisions by constitutional empowerment in a democracy. However, do private organizations empower their employees by sharing influence and control with all employees? Without employee empowerment and an atmosphere that accentuates trust, the first rule of the game (input to decisions) may be more difficult to establish. Private business organizations can empower their employees by establishing formal and informal administrative processes for input that may provide a positive and trusting atmosphere. Additionally, leadership style can help empower the organizations’ employees. This new rule would focus primarily on the organization and its operating structure.

In addition to this rule, that of empowerment, a rule focusing on the individual employees’ ethical training must be included. Ethical training must provide the tools and foundation for employees, which allows them to make data driven decisions that are value directed as determined by the organization collectively. Ethical issues and the standard for ethical behavior are often established for government workers in specific statutes, both state and federal. Loyalty oaths and a promise to uphold the public interest are common. A sense of patriotism and duty are emphasized in their approach to employment. Media attention is often provided in the tasks of government when ethical issues are present or conflict of interest is implied.

In the business world, managers find a limited framework for ethical guidance. Therefore, ethical training should focus on the individual in providing data driven decisions. The analysis of alternatives, in an objective manner utilizing data and practicing skills in determining the limits of compromise, should be provided to individuals in ethical training programs. “Educating our employees is the best idea to keeping them readily informed of what is expected of them” (Freeman, 1998, p. 140). This level of expectation would focus upon the values of a practicing democracy where openness and empowerment are foundations and social responsibility and public interest are an important part of the process.

Development of a New Qualitative Model for Identifying Opportunities for Improving Ethical Behavior

The practicing manager often seeks simple or common sense tools, techniques, models or representations that will provide a roadmap or guidance in addressing complex issues. As McCormick (1995) pointed out in his discussion of the ethical problems at Sears, “It’s management structure, executive style or corporate culture that lead it to commit the most serious ethical breach in its history” (p. 36). Perhaps a historical perspective with a holistic concept may be needed for practicing managers. Therefore, a new and innovative model to provide guidance to the practicing manager in analysis and to improve ethical behavior opportunities in the work place has been developed utilizing a historical perspective. The new model includes both organizational rules of the game, as well as, a focus on group and individual employee behavior. The inclusive new model is depicted in Figure I-the Qualiative Model for Identifying Opportunities to Improve Ethical Behavior Based on a Historical Perspective. With the establishment of the rules of the game in the organization, coupled with opportunities for determining values of the employee, ethical dilemmas in the work place may be reduced and ethical behavior opportunities enhanced when decisions are made in the context of the model.

Additionally, the new model provides the practicing manager an opportunity to make certain inferences. Inferences may be made about how his or her company’s values are being determined within the context of the model. An opportunity to make certain inferences as to whether undetermined values are persistent due to organizational process and /or due to individual employee considerations may be analyzed. Individuals within groups in the organization should attempt to mirror both the individuals, organizational groups, and the overall organization. Each culture rule of the game or element of the model may be analyzed as the line depicting the number of ethical dilemmas moves up or down as values are determined by the rules of the game. Concurrently, decisions for some type of individual action when ethical decisions are not in alignment with the cultural rules of the game may be increased and can be assessed. Likewise, a positive or negative work atmosphere may develop, as determined by the ethics building or lack of ethics building that is present depending on implementation of the culture rules of the game.

This new model provides a general roadmap for not only organizational process but provides direction for leadership style that the practicing manager may consider. Also, the development of this new qualitative model, as with other models or representations of complex issues, affords an opportunity for systematic evaluation of components identified by the model. This type of evaluation will allow the practicing manager to prioritize his efforts toward change and improvement in the ethical behavior of the organization and its employees.

Force Field Analysis for Determining and Stratifying Ethical Behavior Opportunities

The new Qualitative Model for Identifying Opportunities to Improve Ethical Behavior Based on a Historical Perspective that is found in Figure I lends itself to evaluation using Kurt Lewin’s model for change. A force field analysis may be constructed for analyzing, as well as, the identification of ethical behavior opportunities. According to Nelson and Quick, Kurt Lewin’s model, developed in the 1950’s contends that a person’s behavior is the product of two opposing forces; one force pushes toward preserving the status quo, and another force pushes for change. When the two opposing forces are approximately equal, current behavior is maintained. For behavioral change to occur, the forces maintaining status quo must be overcome. This can be accomplished by increasing the forces for change, by weakening the forces for status quo or by a combination of these actions. (p. 616)

The force field analysis approach or perhaps more appropriately an ethical stratification design provides a format for analyzing each specific element of the new ethical behavior opportunity model. The practicing manager may identify forces that promote positive change and those resisting forces. This provides a generalist approach, as well as a holistic view, to a complex issue-ethics.

As noted in Figure II, Lewin’s force field analysis approach, when applied to the new Model of Identifying Opportunities to Improve Ethical Behavior Based on a Historical Perspective, may help in evaluating and enhancing the opportunities for ethical behavior as well as the reduction of potential ethical dilemmas in the work place.

As discussed earlier, Digh pointed to several pressures in the organization that may nourish the opportunity for ethical dilemmas and ethical transgressions of employees. If the new model is applied and an analysis is performed utilizing Lewin’s force field analysis, it would appear that certain assumptions could be drawn in how the (1) business objectives developed and the level of aggressiveness, (2) the type of schedules that are developed and the level of resulting pressures, and (3) the levels of profits that are determined and the ensuing associated pressures (Digh, 1998). A specific example of model utilization when developing business objectives, schedules and profit levels could be envisioned as follows.

The practicing manager must use a cognitive approach or a more objective approach, such as employee surveys, etc., to determine whether or not and at what level groups within the organization have had an opportunity to help make decisions within the cultural rules of the game. Have employees been empowered for decision-making; have employees had an opportunity for compromise; is the formulation and implementation of business objectives scheduled and profit levels implemented with employee participation; what level of employee input has occurred; has ethical training occurred and shared value determined; and what is the atmosphere – positive or negative?

The practicing managers must access these cultural rules of the game and continue to improve the levels of obtainment when opportunities for improvement are identified. The types and levels of resistance to change can be accessed for improvement and emphasis can be placed upon the opportunity for improvement.

As the model is used for identifying opportunities for implementing the cultural rules of the game, with continued analysis for appropriate change, ethical behavior has the opportunity for improvement and a reduced opportunity for ethical dilemmas within the organization.


The practicing manager continues to seek techniques and models, as well as concepts that can be readily applied to the everyday problems that the manager faces in his/her organization. The concern for ethics and ethical behavior continues to escalate within organizations as competitive pressures bear down on the organizations.

With the development of a new Model of Identifying Opportunities to Improve Ethical Behavior Based on a Historical Perspective that allows a holistic approach, the practicing manager may have an opportunity to hopefully improve ethical behavior. By looking at the governmental approaches to ethics and with some expansion applied to the approach, the private sector may benefit in the quest for improving ethical behavior and reducing ethical dilemmas that are presented. Additionally, an opportunity for injecting an element of balance of power, like government, within the organizations in the private sector may be beneficial.

The model provides the practicing manager a philosophy for evaluating organizational process in decisions, leadership style, workplace atmosphere, and training efforts in a concise and understandable manner, with a democratic viewpoint that embraces the rights of man.

Additionally, the new model facilitates evaluation of the components of the model when a force field analysis or ethical behavior stratification is conducted. This approach allows the practicing manager to assess his/her actions in a cognitive manner or in a more formal manner utilizing data in conjunction with the force field analyses or ethical stratification approach.

While additional study and analysis of the new Model of Identifying Opportunities to Improve Ethical Behavior Based on a Historical Perspective is indicated, it provides a first step in the assessment and hopefully the improvement of ethical decisions in the workplace. Ethical decisions and behavior are issues that continue to be perplexing due to their levels of complexity and difficulty in dealing effectively within a holistic approach.


Bell, Janet Cheatham. (1997). The Soul of Success. New York: Wiley, John & Son.

Bull, Kay and Arthur McGovern. (2002). Chapter 8 Humanistic Psychology (EPSY5463C8). Oklahoma State University.

Delaney, Tim. (2003, May 12). Ethics-consious companies build codes into operations. The Business Journal of Phoenix.

Digh, Patricia. (1998, August). The “I” in Ethics. Association of Management, 105-110.

Fairfield, Roy P., editor. (1966). The Federalist Papers. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Freeman, Eric. (1998, November). Build a Code of Ethics to Keep Trouble at Bay. Folio: The MagazineOf Magazine Management, 140.

Godin, Seth. (1995). Wisdom Inc. San Francisco CA: Harperinformation.

Graham, George A. (1924, Jan.-Feb.). Public Administration Review, 34, 90-92.

Greengard, Samuel. (1997, October). 50% of Your Employees Are Lying, Cheating, and Stealing. Workforce, 44-47.

Jones, Gareth R. (1997). Organizational Theory. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.

Larimer, Louis. (1997, April). Reflections on Ethics and Integrity. HR Focus, 5.

Lordan, Edward J. (1997). The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth: Testing the Ethical Standards of Your Employees and Recruits. Public Relations Quarterly, 29-30.

Maslow, A. H. (1968). Some educational implications of humanistic psychologies. Harvard Education Review, 38, 685-696.

McCormick, John. (1995, June). The Sorry Side of Sears. Newsweek, 36-37.

Mosher, Frederick C. (1968). Democracy and the Public Service. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nelson, Deborah and James C. Quick. (1994). Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Realities, and Challenges. Minnesota: West Publishing Co.

Phillips, Donald T. (1992). Lincoln on Leadership. New York: Warner Books Inc.

Pritchett, Price. (1970). The Ethics of Excellence. Dallas: Pritchett & Associates.

Rogers, Carl and H. Jerome Freiberg. (1994). Freedom to Learn. New York: Macmillian College Publishing Company.

Simon, Herbert A. (1976). Administrative Behavior. New York: The Free Press.

Weaver, Gary, Linda Klebe Trevino, and Philip Cochran. (1999, February). Corporate Ethics Programs As Control Systems: Influences of Executive Commitment and Environmental Factors. Academy of Management Journal, 41.

Wellman, Carl. (1988). Morals and Ethics. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Larry L. McKee, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

About the Author

Dr. Larry McKee entered Oklahoma state government in 1969, serving twenty-eight years in the positions of Environmental Specialist, District Supervisor, Energy Conservation Officer, Chief of Financial Management, Chief of Environmental Training, Chief of General Environmental Services, and Director of Environmental Complaints and Local Services. He is currently an associate professor of management and the Associate Dean of the School of Business at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. Dr. McKee received a B.S. degree from Southwestern in 1969, a Masters’ degree from University of Oklahoma in 1976, and a Doctor of Public Administration degree at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1982.

Copyright Nova Southeastern University, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship Apr 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved