The Color Of Ethics – Brief Article

Jennifer Richler

In the corporate world, some issues may truly be black or white.

A recent study in the Business and Professional Ethics Journal suggests that black managers consider adhering to corporate ethics more important than maintaining legal standards, while white managers feel the opposite. Susan Key, Ph.D., study author and a University of Alabama at Birmingham business professor, describes the distinction between “legal” and “ethical” as “the difference between `Don’t shoot your wife’ and `Be nice to your wife.'”

This disparity may result from different perceptions of the legal system. While whites tend to trust in a fair legal system, blacks seem more likely to expect it to treat them unfairly and thus seek to avoid it. And to accomplish this, Key says, they may go beyond the call of duty.

“We call it `overcompensation behavior,'” she explains. Blacks seem to take extra precautionary measures to avoid being persecuted, a behavior that can transfer to the office and cause black managers to place a higher premium on ethics.

This strategy is actually quite logical, Key says. “If you want to hit the middle of the target, aim for the bull’s-eye.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

You May Also Like

Engendering excuses

Engendering excuses – sex differences in making excuses Jack C. Horn Engendering excuses We make excuses for many reasons, bu…

New clue to a baffling illness – Autism

New clue to a baffling illness – Autism – Brief Article Julie Adams The chromosomal key to autism, one of the most enigmatic mental…

How the X Chromosome Controls Our lives

The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our lives Anne Becker THE X IN SEX: HOW THE X CHROMOSOME CONTROLS OUR LIVES BY D…

A New Use for Vitamins

A New Use for Vitamins Seeking protection from heart disease? Look to your humble multi-vitamin. When studying vitamin E-users, Howard Ho…