Subordinate influence ethics Essay

September 9, 2021 by Essay Writer

Appreciating ethical issues and maintaining business ethics are crucial concepts in driving successful relationships at individual and societal levels. These values are also crucial towards business growth bearing in minds that ethical congruence is a crucial factor in guiding both the short and long term focus in the sustainability of a business venture.

According to Tang (2008, p. 249), ethics can be defined as the generally acceptable standards or rules that concerns social or personal welfare and which govern the conducts and operations of a particular society or organization. It is also evident business ethics take different forms and is commonly applied at all levels and stages of its operation and management.

Scholars of organizational behavior like Ralston and Pearson (2010, p. 149) concur with ethical theorists and point out that it is crucial for individuals in a society both at micro and macro levels to assimilate behaviors that culminate to improved levels of organizational performance and productivity.

As such, an understanding of subordinate influence ethics plays an important role of appreciating both self serving and pro-organizational ethical behaviors.

While good organizational ethics behavior influences subordinates to enhance their work performance, I have come to acknowledge that poor business ethics forms one of the most retrogressing factors that negatively affect a society and national economy. Reported numbers of unethical cases have been out of bad influence, practices and undesirable behaviors by management personnel in organizations.

The cumulative effect has been cited as one of the worst element to an economy. This has been compounded by spontaneous emergence of opportunistic chances for self- indulgent ethical behaviors and destructive ethics in an organization stetting A major question many researchers ask themselves is whether the perpetrators of bad business comprehend their overall impact on the society and economy.

It is also definite that personal effectiveness is instrumental towards reinforcing ethical practices. The effectiveness of an individual at workplace depends on the communication system in the working environment as well as the ability to listen and to speak.

It is important to observe that in all the communications that takes place in an environment, many people tend to get and remember half of what they listen, understand and believe. Additionally, personal effectiveness of an individual is greatly affected by ineffective communication that comes from cliché, jargon, inappropriate language and too much information.

Also, there are instances when individuals communicate messages that are unclear and sometimes these can be as a result of poorly structured thoughts. This becomes a barrier to effective communication and personal effectiveness.

Also, other barriers include a verbal messages that conflicts with a non-verbal messages, distractions from other activities or noise in the environment and misinterpretation of the intent or content of the communication by the receiver.

Furthermore, individuals at workplace respond to stimuli that makes them interested, angry, sad or happy. Communication is of significant importance in creating such emotions at a particular time in the lives of the workers.

Good communication would mean motivation and effectiveness which is the opposite of bad communication manifested by an arrogant, presumptuous and patronizing way of passing information that would exist between employers’ and employees.

Pro-organizational, self- centered and destructive ethics

Perry, Kulik and Zhou (1999, p. 341) argue that subordinate influence by an organization may lead to organizational beneficial behaviors among workers. Many organizations set sanctioned and prescribed standards for employees which play a crucial role of influencing their behaviors.

Indeed, subordinate influence as Perry, Kulik and Zhou claims is critical for enhancing work performance in organizations. Employees under such influences will ensure that they have good working relationships with others, will behave in an appropriate manner and will put effort to accomplish tasks.

Using life stage hypothesis, understanding the dynamic nature of human personality has become a complex issue in the contemporary society owing to numerous factors such as nature, genetic makeup and the social environment that control and influence individual’s behavior.

Sociologists like Galperin, Bennett and Aquino (2011, p. 407) argue that human behavior, besides being influenced by the environment, is also controlled by certain aspects such as culture and common life events.

In agreement with Marangos and Astroulakis (2009, p. 385) whose arguments on development of ethics concur with Ralstons and Pearson (2010, p. 160) argument , I would like to point out that understanding the complex nature of human behavior requires appreciating certain concepts such as human development, cultural competency, corporate culture and human diversity.

It is agreeable from the analysis in the article by Ralston that human behavior in terms of both life stage theory and convergence theory denotes that gaining knowledge on human development and their experiences throughout their life period is important towards understanding the role of influenced ethics behavior.

Park, Rehg and Lee (2005, p. 387) point out that behaviors related to subordinate influence manifests themselves strongly in certain stages in life. In agreement, it is evident that the young and middle adulthood stages in life are some of the most challenging periods in life as individuals in these stages grow and experience massive life developments.

I would like to point out that at these stages, especially at the beginning of early adulthood, individuals become more focused and ambitious with exceeding hope rising in the corporate ladder. To concur with Grojean et al (2004, p. 223), individuals in this stage due to their ambitions become more self interested and individualistic than other individuals in the middle adulthood and later stages.

This could be due to the fact that individuals in this group are offered with an opportunity to typically move to an ‘elevated economic and social status, begin a career, get employed, marry and raise a family or contribute to the development of society. These factors among others according to life stage theory cause individuals in the early adulthood stages to engage in destructive and self indulging behaviors.

On the other hand, middle adulthood period as described by Valentine et al (2011, p. 354) is a time when an individual is at his or her prime of life. A person at this age is both psychologically and physically capable, has vast experience and wisdom in variety of areas in life, and may have a stable career in place. It is a fact that at this stage many individuals tend to become universalistic, collectivistic and more nurturing.

As such, it is notable that even without organizational influence, their level of development allows them to involve in ethical behaviors. In organizations, the ethical behavior exhibited by these groups becomes organizationally beneficial as they assist in the realization of organizational goals.

The model of cross convergence

I would like to point from the perspective of the social divergence theory that the sole determinant of the various values an individual possesses at a personal level is the social cultural influence. Societal cultures as Klinefelter (2010, p. 937) mentions differs and can either be collectivist or individualistic. These cultures are crucial and potential in influencing a business’ ideology.

Many different societies in the world today have diverse cultures (Essers, Bohm and Contu 2009, p. 130). In international business, culture plays a very important role especially decision making processes.

Research points out that effective understanding of other people’s nationalistic cultures when conducting business in other countries is important for effective interaction. When properly applied, concerns, anxiety and frustrations that come with cultural differences are minimized.

Using the model of cross divergence, it is clear from the perspective drawn for the articles that different cultures of diverse nations like the US, China, Brazil and Germany are based on different independent dimensions that include short term or long term orientation and individualism or collectivism (Tang 2008, p. 249).

The argument points out that these aid businesses in predicting how societies or nations that host them culturally operate. It is imperative to note that the culture of a given society is the sum of its assumptions, beliefs and values.

The man-made part of the culture of a society is influenced by the perceptions individuals have of their social environment. As such, a prescribed behavior of a particular society is shaped by those shared perceptions (Fritzsche and Oz 2007, p. 335). An individual may not be able to directly observe culture, but can easily infer it from verbal exchanges and daily societal activities.


Essers, J., Bohm, S. & Contu, A. 2009, “Corporate Robespierres, ideologies of management and change”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 129-140.

Fritzsche, D. & Oz, E. 2007, “Personal values influence on the ethical dimension of decision making”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 335-335.

Galperin, B.L., Bennett, R.J. & Aquino, K. 2011, “Status differentiation and the protean self: a social-cognitive model of unethical behavior in organizations”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 407-424.

Grojean, M.W., Resick, C.J., Dickson, M.W. & Smith, D.B. 2004, “Leaders, values, and organizational climate: examining leadership strategies for establishing an organizational climate regarding ethics”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 223-241.

Klinefelter, G. 2010, “Leadership and change management”, Choice, vol. 47, no. 5, pp. 937-938.

Marangos, J. & Astroulakis, N. 2009, “The Institutional Foundation of Development Ethics”, Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 381-388.

Park, H., Rehg, M.T. & Lee, D. 2005, “The influence of Confucian ethics and collectivism on whistle blowing intentions: a study of South Korean public employees”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 387-403.

Perry, E.L., Kulik, C.T. & Zhou, J. 1999, “A closer look at the effects of subordinate-supervisor age differences”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 341-357.

Ralston, D.A. & Pearson, A. 2010, “The cross-cultural evolution of the subordinate influence ethics measure”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 149-168.

Tang, L. 2008, “An integral model of collective action in organizations and beyond”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 80, no. 2, pp. 249-261.

Valentine, S., Godkin, L., Fleischman, G.M. & Kidwell, R. 2011, “Corporate ethical values, group creativity, job satisfaction and turnover intention: the impact of work context on work response”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 353-372.

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