Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business


The emergence of ethical issues is conditional upon the policies of a given company as well as the conduct of its employees. My organization, which is office administration, is no exception to the rule. The ethical dilemma it faced resulted from the lack of mutual understanding between the company’s departments and employees at different levels. There are various theories and models, which allow dealing with ethical issues within a company by instilling new values. For the successful resolution of the existing ethical issues in my organization, it is required to develop a strategy based on such theories with consideration of the influence of all its members.

History of the Ethical Issue in the Workplace

The successful functioning of any company is conditional upon its moral values, which constitute an essential part of it. They are divided into personal and corporate values, which have an impact on the behavior of employees as well as the whole company (Doochin, 2010). Therefore, it is necessary to consider the given types of values separately, for the employees and the organization, to reveal the best possible strategy of coping with the emerging ethical issues. The concept of division of a company’s values between its employees and teams they comprise contributes to the necessity to give specific descriptions of their spheres of influence within an organization. With consideration of the way their values are reflected in the company’s ethical policies and practices, it is possible to find a method to improve cooperation between the managers and employees.

The lack of a clear vision of a team’s objectives, as well as the misperception of the ways to achieve it in my workplace, resulted in the emergence of specific ethical problems. No team without an understanding of available methods can produce a positive result of their work, and our company faces similar issues. This situation is also complicated by the lack of support and guidance from managers, who can establish clear goals and unite the team for their achievement. It allows us to conclude that the principal cause of the chosen ethical dilemma is the ambiguity of teamwork as well as the managers’ attitudes towards a team of employees. This issue is ethical as under such circumstances, the code of conduct is disregarded.

As my place of employment is office administration, the results of the teams’ activities influence all their members. When the result of work seems to be favorable, the whole team equally shares the benefit. When the work has imperfections or points of critique, only certain team members are punished, not the entire team, as in the first case. Therefore, the dilemma identifies the conflict within universal ethical values (Kamm, Temkin & Sorabji, 2004). More specifically, there is a conflict within fairness, trustworthiness, and responsibility.

The emergence of ethical dilemmas in the work of office administration results in the impact on both external and internal stakeholders, while the internal ones undergo more severe affection. As the primary internal interested parties are the company’s staffers, this impact spreads to all of the employees without consideration of their participation in a specific team project. Different departments of office administration perform varying amounts of tasks, and such diversity results in the impossibility to predict the likelihood of the emergence of ethical dilemmas in any department. This circumstance is also complicated by the existence of varying tasks, for which the departments are responsible.

Internal stakeholders include not only employees of various departments but also managers and the company’s owners. They are the people who oversee the work of the whole business. Hence, the values they want to promote and rules of behavior they wish to cultivate impact the working process of all other staff members and the company’s efficiency. As for external stakeholders, they would include society, shareholders, and customers.

Society consists of the people who are either employed or relatives of those who are employed. Therefore, the company not only directly influences society by its production but also through the workers. Unpleasant working conditions and dissatisfaction caused by unresolved ethical dilemmas could contribute to the social unrest and demolition of the company’s image. Customers reap the benefits of accomplished work and impact the business’s wellbeing and income. When the work is of inferior quality, the agency has nothing to supply, and thus it suffers losses.

The Impact of Organizations on Ethical Issues

The creation of ethical principles of companies is based on the values that their managers and owners promote. In this way, they become role models for their organizations, and this type of management is described as ethical leadership by the researchers (Demirtas & Akdogan, 2015).

Special attention in this theory is paid to the correspondence of the managers’ and owners’ conduct to the values they promote as other employees follow their example and thereby create the image of the company. This theory applies to my organization due to the evident lack of ethical principles that the company promotes, and it is the principal issue that needs to be resolved.

Another theory that corresponds to the emerging ethical dilemmas is Carroll’s CSR Pyramid. According to it, the policies of businesses should be not only economically profitable but also ethically oriented (Dudovskiy, 2012). Hence, the focus of any company should consist of two components: profits and ethics. In the Pyramid, there is a clear division of economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities with the obligations they include (Dudovskiy, 2012). It means that to succeed, my organization should pay particular attention to the correspondence of its activities to all these layers of the pyramid, not just some of them. The ethical layer is the second important one in the theory, which means that it is more important for success than the attention to economic or legal components.

The Contribution of Employees to Ethical Behavior

However, unethical behavior does not necessarily stem from the attitude of managers and owners of the company as their conduct and the conduct of employees influence each other. It allows us to assume that in some cases, the influence of employees on the company’s ethical policies is more significant than the influence of its managers. Therefore, ethical dilemmas can be caused by the lack of spiritual quotient of the employees (Akhtar, Anuar bin Arshad, Mahmood & Ahmed, 2015). This theory states that the solution for unethical behavior of personnel lies in the promotion of a set of personal values, which are included in this notion. Thus, personal ethical values should be considered as a reason for ethical issues emerging in the company, and my organization would benefit from their use too.

Another theory related to the influence of employees on the company’s ethical values is the model of consumer participation in co-creation (Martinez-Canas, Ruiz-Palomino, Linuesa-Langreo & Blazquez-Resino, 2016). In this approach, a consumer and an employee of the company have equal roles in the process of the creation of values. It relates mostly to interaction on a personal level as the people from different departments share the tasks and thereby define the responsibility of some employees for the work with customers.

My organization would benefit greatly from the consideration of such a concept as it would promote the understanding of the employees’ role in the creation of its ethical values. It would also allow them to take responsibility for the process of co-creation together with consumers and realize their potential role in it.

Cooperation of Organizations and Employees

To reveal the reason for emerging ethical issues in the organization, it is necessary to apply all the theories considered above related to both companies and their employees. Otherwise, these issues are unlikely to be solved within a company due to the possibility of the erroneous definition of their source. For this purpose, it is important to avoid any kind of bias in the process. For example, conformity bias can hurt the ethical issues if the employees are convinced the problem is in the managers (Doochin, 2010).

The correspondence bias, in its turn, would result in the false belief that the cause is in their colleagues’ actions, not in their wrong decisions (Doochin, 2010). Due to the specificities of human judgment, it would be necessary for my organization to seek help from third parties not interested in the outcome of the business.

By the results of my analysis of existing theories related to the emergence of ethical dilemmas in companies, it is essential to pay attention to all the participants in the process. The only consideration of the influence of managers, owners, employees, and consumers would allow my organization to reveal the reason for ethical dilemmas. The possibility to involve third parties in the process would facilitate the search for solutions for ethical problems. What my organization also needs is to enhance the understanding of differences in the perception of values by employees and managers (McCombs School of Business, 2013). In this case, it would be possible to understand that everyone has his vision of values, and such understanding would improve the cooperation between the people at different levels in the organization.

In the process of creating the company’s values, it is vital to pay attention to all of the participants in the business. In every organization, some managers are convinced that their vision of the company’s values is clearer than the vision of other employees (McCombs School of Business, 2013). Due to the possible complications resulting from differences in opinions, the company should find a method to arrange a constructive discussion with all of its employees and managers to avoid the dissatisfaction of some groups of people.


The solution to ethical dilemmas of my organization lies in the cooperation of employees at different levels and managers. The complex approach with consideration of all types of employees in the company would facilitate the process of creating the company’s values as well as the mechanism of control of adherence to them. The implementation of the theories described above, as well as the participation of the third parties, would result in improvements in team working and the attitude of managers towards employees.


Akhtar, S., Anuar bin Arshad, M., Mahmood, A., & Ahmed, A. (2015). Spiritual quotient and ethical values towards organizational sustainability. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, 58, 1-7.

Demirtas, O., & Akdogan, A. A. (2015). The effect of ethical leadership behavior on ethical climate, turnover intention, and affective commitment. Journal of Business Ethics, 130, 59-67.

Doochin, J. (2010). Making decisions on values, not biases. Harvard Business Review. Web.

Dudovskiy, J. (2012). Carroll’s CSR Pyramid and its applications to small and medium-sized businesses. Web.

Kamm, F., Temkin, L., & Sorabji, R. (2004). Ethics: What is right?. Films on demand. Web.

Martinez-Canas, R., Ruiz-Palomino, P., Linuesa-Langreo, J., & Blazquez-Resino, J. J. (2016). Consumer participation in co-creation: An enlightening model of causes and effects based on ethical values and transcendent motives. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(793).

McCombs School of Business. (2013). GVV Pillar 1: Values. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2022, November 18). Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2022, November 18). Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business.

Work Cited

"Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business." BusinessEssay, 18 Nov. 2022,


BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business'. 18 November.


BusinessEssay. 2022. "Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business." November 18, 2022.

1. BusinessEssay. "Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business." November 18, 2022.


BusinessEssay. "Ethical Dilemmas and Theories Applied in Business." November 18, 2022.