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The term "ethics" refers to the behavior that staff and managers are supposed to exhibit on the job (Gundlach & Murphy, 1993). In general, there is no widely agreed concept of ethics, and what is considered ethical varies from one society to the next, or even from one country to the next. Ethics are critical in evaluating a company's performance as well as an employee's progress (Thoms, 2008).

Researchers, theorists, and impetus have defined four general types of ethical conduct and dilemma: conflict of interest; conflict of loyalty; fairness and integrity; and whistleblowing. Conflict of interest occurs in a situation where an individual or an employee with vested interests in the organization, company or a firm becomes untrustworthy due to the clash between their professional interests and personal interests.

On another hand, conflict of interest occurs when a person has crushing interest between the action being done and the implication on the affiliated firm. Conflict of honesty and integrity results when a person is indifferent to act straightforward due to vested interests in the resulting outcome (Paine, 1994). Whistleblowing when an individual or an employee of an organization comes out boldly and tels of some crucial information that has been hidden and that can harm the company. This is in a bid that a responsile person will act on it to salvage the situation.

Jordan’s Ethical Dilemma

Jordan dilemma is a conflict of honesty and integrity. This is a professional ethical conduct that requires professional and employees to be truthful and honest about them. Employees should clearly indicate the source of information and not use other people’s ideas to blackmail the management that they are the source of the idea.

Jordan dilemma is, should she admit that the success of the contract was due to April contributions, and loss the promotion or veil this to the CEO and earn the promotion by admitting April’s contribution, Jordan will be acting ethically on confining this to her is unethical behavior. Out of her knowledge, Jordan does appreciate that the presentation would not have been success minus April’s contribution.

After doing the presentation and winning the contract, Jordan is invited into the Louise office where the CEO is happy about her meticulous presentation. The CEO assumes that it was Jordan alone who did the presentation to win the contract. In the real sense, Jordan was just presenting Aprils ideas and not out of her creativity as the CEO thinks.

Unfortunately, upon being promised promotion to new office owing to her creativity, which was not hers, Jordan act unfaithfully and dishonestly by not implicitly revealing to the CEO that April played a crucial role in preparing the presentation, and it was April’s contribution that won the contract. She decides to keep quiet and accepts the promotion to the new office. Nevertheless, in her heart she is confronted with the ugly truth that she is not competent for this job as April would be.

Jordan is so much troubled inwardly because she does not poses the required skills and competencies to serve the newly created office. And she confesses that she is not competent to serve in that position as April would do. Nonetheless, Jordan accepts the post. This indicates a clear form of dishonesty and lack of integrity at work; it culminates into unethical behavior as Jordan is acting untrustworthy.

However much, Jordan is squeezed in complying with the truth. She should boldly once more come out and face reality. Jordan should explicitly reveal to the CEO that this was a combination effort and much of the success was attributed to April’s contribution. This would be ethical to her. If she does not accepts this and let it be known to the CEO, Jordan is likely to fail in her new office, and the truth is unraveled that she was incompetent and she acted untrustworthy to win the promotion, which was unethical conduct at the workplace. This unethical behavior can cost her job.

Factors that contribute to employees not operating ethically in business

Pressure to meet business goals and objective. Intense pressure from management to have employee meet the business objective is one main reason for unethical behavior at work. Employees will take whatever it takes to achieve this goal, therein, they end up acting unethically (Trevino, & Brown, 2004). In this case, Jordan knew very well that the company wanted to win the contract by all means to outwit their competitor. Jordan goes ahead to use April’s idea to win the contract and fails to appreciate such efforts before the CEO.

Personal growth. The desire for personal and corporate ladders climbing is another cause of unethical behavior coupled with the attached incentives like promotion. For the sake of getting the new office and being promoted to the newly created office., Jordan acts unethically by not disclosing that she is incompetent to head that office.

Promotion and incentives. Things like promotion and incentive are the key cause of unethical behavior. Jordan acted unethically because she was going to head a new office and no one else had headed such office before in the company.

Steps in Making Decision

Develop options. The organization should help the employee to develop options. This where employees are encouraged to consult as much as possible about the act they want to do. After developing the options, they are now ready to make the best choice that is ethical. In reference to above study case, Jordan should have in the first instance consulted widely with April so that she comes up with consultative ideas. After being successful in the presentation, Jordan should have come back and appreciated April for her take. Instead of accepting promotion, Jordan should have made the options of considering April’s contribution and submit it to the CEO. She should have gathered any other option about it before accepting the promotion and consider only what was ethical.

Consider consequences. The organization should help employees in ascertaining the implications of the unethical behavior they take (Weber & Green, 1991). For example, in the case study, Jordan should have weighed the consequences of acting untrustworthy about the April’s ideas that won the company contract. Before acting, Jordan should clearly be made aware that if found to have acted unethically, she would lose her job or act ethically and maintain her job.

Clarify goal. The organization can make employees work ethically by simply making the goals clear to everyone (Giordano, 2007). The reward for the winning company the contract was not made clear to all. If this was made clear, April would have come out and presented her ideas alone rather than Jordan manipulating Jordan ideas to win promotion.

Promoting ethical behavior

Educate employees. Employees should be made aware of the risks in the event they are acting unethically (Fassin, 2005). If the employees are aware of the consequences, they will restrain from such conduct. For example, Jordan should be made aware of the consequences of not acting trustworthy towards the management.

Encourage openness and truthfulness. The organization should encourage the employees to feel free to speak about anything. Most of the unethical behaviors are as a result of dishonesty among employees (Vitell, Dickerson & Festervand, 2000). For example, the Company should encourage employees to act honestly and trustworthily in regards to other people’s ideas.

In summary, the aim of this paper was to describe the ethical and social responsibilities that confront a business. It has been found that employees are faced with many ethical dilemmas at the workplace when faced with choices to come. The main question being asked is, should they act ethically in such situation or not? The paper looked at different forms of ethical behavior, factors influencing unethical behavior at the workplace, how an organization can help the employee make the decision when faced with an ethical dilemma, and finally how an organization can help employees act ethically.


Fassin, Y. (2005). The reasons behind non-ethical behaviour in business and entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 60(3), 265-279.

Giordano, J. (2007). Techniques, technology and taken: The ethical use of guidelines in the practice of interventional pain management. Pain Physician, 10(1), 1.

Gundlach, G. T., & Murphy, P. E. (1993). Ethical and legal foundations of relational marketing exchanges. The Journal of Marketing, 35-46.

Paine, L. S. (1994). Managing for organizational integrity. Harvard business review, 72(2), 106-


Thoms, J. C. (2008). Ethical integrity in leadership and organizational moral culture. Leadership, 4(4), 419-442.

Trevino, L. K., & Brown, M. E. (2004). Managing to be ethical: Debunking five business ethics myths. The Academy of Management Executive, 18(2), 69-81.

Vitell, S. J., Dickerson, E. B., & Festervand, T. A. (2000). Ethical problems, conflicts and beliefs of small business professionals. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(1), 15-24.

Weber, J., & Green, S. (1991). Principled moral reasoning: Is it a viable approach to promote ethical integrity?. Journal of Business Ethics, 10(5), 325-333.

December 28, 2022

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