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Motivating Employees to Act Ethically: An Expectancy Theory Approach

Robert S. Fudge and John L. Schlacter
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Feb., 1999), pp. 295-304
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25074054
Page Count: 10
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Motivating Employees to Act Ethically: An Expectancy Theory Approach
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Abstract

Employees face an array of moral issues in their everyday decision making. Environmental concerns, employee and community welfare, and the interests of other companies (competitors, customers, and suppliers) are only a few examples. Yet, businesses do not always address the issue of how employees should assess the moral import of their actions and incorporate these considerations into their decisions. As a result, moral considerations are often ignored, leading to unethical practices which may hurt the long-term interests of the company. In this paper, we present a model to help eliminate this problem. Our model uses expectancy theory, a process theory of motivation, to show that teaching employees to engage in moral reasoning, and creating a corporate culture in which ethical behavior is both encouraged and rewarded, can increase the likelihood that a company's employees will act ethically.

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