Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Achieving a Competitive Advantage through Ethical Business Practices: An Ethnographical Case Study
by Denney, Valerie P., D.B.A., Northcentral University, 2014, 279; 3579945
Abstract (Summary)

Ethical leadership can be a key driver of corporate behavior but it is an individual's sense of ethics that has an impact on business success. The specific problem was that despite the plethora of academic, government, and industry studies, it remained unclear whether investing in ethics provided a competitive advantage for businesses. The purpose of this qualitative, ethnographic case study was to examine how the internal stakeholders in a single business defined and applied ethics and what elements of the business culture and competitive environment affected decision-making. The research was a practical application of the stakeholder theory, normative ethics and competitive analysis theory. The dissertation research was conducted using JWD Technologies (pseudonym) which is a for profit engineering and manufacturing business located in the southeastern United States. Through this research, the business values and culture were demonstrated through a focus on pride in the quality of the delivered product through a disciplined, continuous improvement, cooperation and teamwork with the customer and the worksite team, and leadership excellence. Key leadership characteristics included being engaged, accessible, credible, trustworthy, stable, and able to relate to the people. The keys for optimizing the culture were moral fortitude including a strong ethical tone, voicing opinions, transparent communications, and individual accountability, consistent with prior literature. The informants demonstrated that effective ethical behavior includes going beyond the practices required by law, consistent with prior literature. Finally, the informants identified ethical values used to achieve future business to deliver a differential value. Recommendations for practice include the practical application of the stakeholder theory, normative ethics, and competitive analysis theory and recommendations on the use of ethnography in a business ethics environment. Recommendations on future research include broadening research applicability with a focus on a broader stakeholder set, competition, and competitive advantage to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and ethics theory application with a focus on reputation and ethical leadership flow down.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wickersham, Leah
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Management
Keywords: business ethics, competition, decision making, ethnography, leadership
Publication Number: 3579945
ISBN: 978-1-303-84170-5
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