Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Facing ethical dilemmas in the workplace: A qualitative study of HR managers' perceptions of the influences on their behavior and the implications for building an ethical culture in organizations
by LaMontagne, Ramona Marie, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University, 2012, 243; 3513137
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study examined the perceptions of human resource managers who had faced ethical dilemmas in the workplace, to gain an understanding of how they felt their life experiences shaped their values in making ethical decisions. The experiences of ten human resource managers who believed they chose a right course of action when faced with a real world situation are examined within the context of their life experiences. Each human resource manager shared a personal story through the process of interviews that told of an ethical dilemma, and the development of the value perspectives that made up his or her ethical framework. The interviews were analyzed through the process of the constant comparison method which revealed some common themes throughout.

Themes which emerged through the interview process included: a diversity of childhood and adult learning experiences from formal and informal church teachings and activities, immediate and extended family influences, and the community; the role of the human resource manager and the perception by the individual as well as by the employees of the organization of the human resources manager's responsibility to make things right, and act as caretaker; and the process of decision-making itself, the importance of including others in dialogue about making rational decisions and judgments based on facts, of not making hasty decisions in isolation, of looking at both short-term and long-term consequences for individuals and the organization, and of the importance of considering alternatives to arrive at a decision that is both just and does the least amount of harm to any individual, always keeping the concern for the greater good of the organization in mind. Values such as integrity, respect, concern for others, and a sense of responsibility were identified as very important to these individuals' makeup and framework for decision-making.

A holistic approach drawing from multiple disciplines of philosophy, psychology, education and business literature served as the theoretical framework for the study, and the conclusions add to those bodies of literature. Implications for research and practice are also included.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rose, Amy
Commitee: Jeris, Laurel, O'Neill, Linda
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Counseling, Adult and Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Philosophy, Management, Adult education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Ethical dilemmas, Human resource managers, Workplace
Publication Number: 3513137
ISBN: 978-1-267-42849-3
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