Last Updated 07 May 2020

Structural and Behavioral Organizational Ethical Performance

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According to moral concepts and judgment, corporate ethics is the study and assessment of business decision making.  Top managers must be able to address situations and issues such as the company’s obligations and responsibilities not only to the company and its employees but to the people that they serve.

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In the past, there have been numerous accounts of conflicts on ethical grounds either between management and the people the company employs, the company’s virtue and their clientele or the community as a whole. This came about because of the lack of stability with regards to deciding what is morally or ethically right and wrong. Because of the changing and evolving world and laws of limitations there are companies that adhere to “ For example, multinational corporations operate in countries where bribery, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and lack of concern for the environment are neither illegal nor unethical or unusual (The Free Dictionary, 2010).”

Top management and owners of the company will have to decide which path to take. Should they take the path that means having to neglect the rights of other people and the betterment of the country’s economical and environmental structure only to gain itself financial wealth and stability, or choose and decide on what is morally and ethically practical to both the company and the people it involves, be it the company workers or the company’s clients.

Developed Models Ethical Performance and Decision Making

According to Dennis Wittmer of University of Denver, in the research essay titled “Developing a Behavioral Model for Ethical Decision Making in Organizations:  Conceptual and Empirical Research,” trust is important amongst everyone in making business decisions as well as the growth, development and success of the company. Wittmer’s research essay, he mentioned James Rest who contributed some concepts and theories on Business Ethics and Behavior.

James Rest, Linda Trevino, Thomas Jones

According to Wittmer’s research on James Rest, he developed a model that can answer “a three-part division for studying ethical behavior:  moral thought, moral emotion, and moral behavior (Wittmer). Moral thought is having the ability to think of what is right, proper and just. Moral emotion is the inner feeling of the person. And moral behaviour is the act or action of doing something right, proper and just regardless of who is watching and evaluating your performance.  “According to this three-fold scheme, behavior is studied by behaviorist psychologists, moral thinking is studied by cognitive-developmentalists, and moral emotion or affect is studied typically by psychoanalysts (Wittmer).

On the essay, Wittmer also discussed about the model contributions of Linda Trevino.  Her proposed theory on ethical behavior is the “interactionist.” This model assumes individual and situational variables. Treveno’s model points at the density of ethical decisions.  Individual variables differ from the persons ego, dependency on his field and his control of self. Situational variables can range from the organizational or environmental culture to company reinforcement or any thing that may be called or fall under the that category.

Thomas Jones, one of the contributors of Ethical behavior mentioned in Wittmer’s essay says, that I Jones’s model he talks and argues about a person having “moral intensity” in making ethical decisions.  It takes a lot of good character, judgment and determination for a leader to be able to do and make the right decision.


As Human Beings, it is hard to be able to make the right decision. We sometimes wonder what the best and just thing to do. Our emotions and thought normally does not coincide and we then are caught in a crossroads. However, with the knowledge that we know and the free will that was given to us, we are given the freedom to choose what path to take and decision to make.  This is the reason why there have be many attempts and continuous research on ethical behavior and corporate governance.


The Free Dictionary. (2010). “ Business Ethics.” Retrieved June 5, 2010, from

Wittmer, D. P. (n.d.). ” Developing a Behavioral Model for Ethical Decision Making in Organizations:  Conceptual and Empirical Research.” Retrieved June 2, 2010, from

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Structural and Behavioral Organizational Ethical Performance. (2018, Aug 17). Retrieved from

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