22 Obstacles to Sound Ethical Decision Making in Business

Ethical decision making is important for the success of business organizations. Savvy managers understand that it is extremely necessary to have sound ethical decision in business. However, there are several barriers that may hinder the organization from implementing sound ethical decision making. Some of the barriers include:

  • Lack of knowledge of expected or appropriate ethical standards
  • Poor example set by leaders
  • Conflicting or impossible goals and unrealistic performance targets
  • Financial incentives coupled with greed or financial stress
  • Perfectionism and the desire to present oneself and one’s work as perfect
  • Fear of criticism or scrutiny
  • The need to belong and to fit in (peer pressure)
  • Personal and/or professional immaturity
  • Substance abuse which clouds judgement
  • Corporate culture where it is unsafe to speak up
  • Assuming an action is ethical because “everybody knew, but nobody stopped me”
  • Lack of personal values
  • Lack of knowledge of professional codes of ethics and conduct
  • Lack of a sound decision-making model
  • Personal bias and bigotry
  • Lack of time available to research and evaluate alternatives
  • The phenomenon of known as “group think”
  • Unclear or conflicting priorities
  • Time pressure to get the job done
  • Thinking that the ethics breach will not be discovered
  • Assuming an unethical action is acceptable because “everybody does it”

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