Three Groups of Traps That Contribute to Unethical Behavior by Managers

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Three Groups of Traps That Contribute to Unethical Behavior by Managers

Hoyk en Hersey (2010) argue that ethical behavior of people – specifically focusing on management level employees - is influenced by three risk factors. These risk factors are called “traps”, which ensnare individuals onto a path of behaving in an unethical way. The traps can be categorized into three major groups of traps:
1. Primary Traps: The traps in this category are mostly external pressures that seduce individuals to abandon ethical principles. In this way, individuals are orientated onto a path of unethical behavior.
2. Defensive Traps: This category includes the reactive pressures such as guilt or embarrassment, that force individuals to behave unethically.
3. Personality Traps: Internal stimuli that increase the probability to behave in an unethical way. The traps in this category blind individuals to the negative consequences their unethical behavior has; in this way the likelihood of behaving unethically increases.
Hoyk and Hersey think that making a list of the different types of traps can help individuals to recognize the influential pressures that lead to unethical behavior. In this way, individuals are better able to avoid the traps and to avoid unethical behavior.
Sources:
- Hoyk, R. and Hersey, P. (2010) “The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps that Every One of Us Falls Prey to” Stanford University Press.
- McDonald, R.A. (2014) “The Ethical Executive: Avoiding the Traps of the Unethical Workplace, a Review” Leadership & Organization Development Journal Vol 35 Iss.5 pp.8-8

  Monty S. Padmanagara
Consultant, Indonesia
 

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  Ray Chatwin
Lecturer, United Kingdom
 

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