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Improving Ethical Decision-Making in Organizations through Ethical Competencies


  • Rafael Morales

    () (Department of Business Organization and Marketing, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain)

  • Carmen Cabello

    () (Department of Business Organization and Marketing, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain)


This research conceptualizes ethical competencies as a factor that can help to improve the understanding of ethical decision-making process in organizations. The authors discuss some limitations of existing models that describe the components of the ethical decision-making process as well as the main factors influencing on it. To overcoming these limitations, the authors propose the concept of ethical competencies as the set of knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired by experience which facilitates the engagement in ethical behaviours that produce an excellent performance in a specific job. The paper theoretically addresses how ethical competencies can influence each component of the ethical decision making process. In addition, the benefits of ethical behaviour for both individuals and organizations are discussed. Finally, some interesting managerial implications are also addressed.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Morales & Carmen Cabello, 2012. "Improving Ethical Decision-Making in Organizations through Ethical Competencies," Working Papers 12.02, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Business Organization and Marketing (former Department of Business Administration).
  • Handle: RePEc:pab:wpboam:12.02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leslie Sekerka & Richard Bagozzi & Richard Charnigo, 2009. "Facing Ethical Challenges in the Workplace: Conceptualizing and Measuring Professional Moral Courage," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(4), pages 565-579, November.
    2. Cardy, Robert L. & Selvarajan, T.T., 2006. "Competencies: Alternative frameworks for competitive advantage," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 235-245.
    3. Roselie McDevitt & Catherine Giapponi & Cheryl Tromley, 2007. "A Model of Ethical Decision Making: The Integration of Process and Content," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 219-229, June.
    4. Blomqvist, Kirsimarja, 1997. "The many faces of trust," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 271-286, September.
    5. Pamela Murphy & M. Dacin, 2011. "Psychological Pathways to Fraud: Understanding and Preventing Fraud in Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(4), pages 601-618, July.
    6. Miquel Bastons, 2008. "The Role of Virtues in the Framing of Decisions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(3), pages 389-400, March.
    7. Robert Giacalone & Mark Promislo, 2010. "Unethical and Unwell: Decrements in Well-Being and Unethical Activity at Work," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 275-297, January.
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