IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Sensemaking of managers' ethical work orientations

  • Christina Reis
Registered author(s):

    Purpose – Regarding managers' sensemaking of ethical content, this paper aims to help understand how managers come to believe what is important for business ethics and to improve understanding about their ethical work orientations. Design/methodology/approach – The method used was a qualitative approach that analyzed 23 in-depth interviews conducted with managers in various settings. Findings – Three categories of ethical sense-making orientations were identified: the proactive managers; the institutional managers; the technical managers. The study follows a discussion of the significance of these categories in terms of ethics in management, focusing on the extent to which the individual or the organization appears to drive ethical dilemmas. Research limitations/implications – Five main limitations are discussed. It was not the aim of the study to provide an explanatory model for the process of ethical sensemaking and managers' work orientations. The sample of managers used in the study is only indicative of managers' ethical work orientations. Practical implications – Managers have different ethical work orientations that relate to their personal identities. These categories may provide a framework for future research on additional types of professionals, organizations and cultural settings. For example, the institutional ethical managers are easier for organizations to control since they seem to rely on company rules. Originality/value – The paper is valuable for management scholars and practitioners in the field of management. Since not much has been written about the sensemaking of managers and business ethics, the paper examines how some managers were more proactive than others in identifying ethical content in unexpected situations.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:;jsessionid=96BB500D7B8E0974542D442F25B7F834?contentType=Article&contentId=1845960
    Download Restriction: Cannot be freely downloaded

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 143-155

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:1:p:143-155
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
    Web: Email:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:1:p:143-155. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Katie Frudd)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.