Motivated to be Unethical

By Amali J. Withanage.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

According to research, having an ethical workforce motivated to work in the interests of an organisation is vital for its success. Consequently, organisations apply motivators to drive employees and enforce codes of ethics to align their motives with organisational objectives. Despite efforts to achieve a motivated and ethical workforce, research highlight instances where employees act unethically thereby endangering organisational success. This paper investigated causes behind the emergence of unethical behaviours during the application of motivators such as goal setting, non-financial recognition initiatives, entrusting authority and granting financial rewards. Preliminary findings indicated that there was no direct link between the use of motivators and the emergence of unethical conduct. Further exploration revealed a causal relationship between the work environment, employee behaviour, organisational controls and motivators. As the end outcome of this research, the absence (or inadequacy) of controls within a work environment and the incorrect implementation of motivators were uncovered to be causes behind the emergence of unethical behaviour during the application of motivators.

Keywords: Motivation, Unethical Behaviour, Authority, Non-financial Recognition, Financial Rewards, Goal Setting

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.55-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 690.087KB).

Amali J. Withanage

Lecturer, Department of Business and Information Management, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, Malabe, Sri Lanka

Amali Withanage has a BSc in Mathematics and Computer Information Systems from Northern Arizona University in Arizona USA, an MSc in Management (with Distinctions) from Aberdeen Business School in UK and is professionally qualified as a PRINCE2 Project Management practitioner. Amali has worked in USA, UK and Sri Lanka in industries such as IT, BPO, Insurance and Higher Education. Currently, Amali is a lecturer for the Department of Business and Information Management at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (a leading academic institution in Sri Lanka) and also engaged in managing a small family-run company. Her research interests include motivational theory and its applications, self-actualisation, business ethics and the impact of technology and socio-cultural factors on human behaviour.


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