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Organizational Ethics

Organizational Ethics
A Practical Approach

Third Edition

Other Titles in:
Business Ethics

544 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
We are constantly faced with ethical decisions, no matter what organisations we join. The ethical choices we make determine the health of our businesses, schools, government agencies, religious congregations, charities, and other institutions. Our ethical decisions also determine our career success or failure. Bestselling author, Craig E. Johnson, shows how we can develop our ethical competence, just as we develop our abilities to manage or oversee operations.  

Every chapter of Organizational Ethics provides you with opportunities to apply ethical principles and practices in a variety of settings through self-reflection, analyses, projects, and discussion. Written in a reader-friendly style, each part of the book is layered around organisational behaviour. The parts introduce moral theories used in ethical problem-solving; examines individual motivations; looks at the ethical dilemmas of groups, teams, and leaders as well as offers strategies for creating ethical cultures and promoting social responsibility. This book shows how you can develop your ethical expertise and provides opportunities to practice problem-solving to defend your decisions.



  • Additional self-assessments and updated case studies foster skill development and ground the theories introduced in the text.
  • New cases featuring Sea World, Rolling Stone, and other organizations illustrate relevant application of the principles of organizstional ethics.
  • A new chapter focused exclusively on ethics and global diversity provides the tools and strategies necessary for creating ethical global citizens.
  • Extended material on corporate social responsibility further promotes organisational citizenship.
  • The incorporation of emotion into ethical decision making examines the impact emotion has  on moral deliberation and behaviour.
  • New and updated coverage of key topics such as Aristotelian ethics, proactive influence tactics, apology, financial fraud, and cosmopolitanism illustrates relevant application of the principles and brings students up-to-date in important areas of organisational ethics.
List of Case Studies, Self-Assessments, and Ethics in Action
Part I. Laying an Ethical Foundation
1. Ethical Perspectives
Chapter Preview

Utilitarianism: Do the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Do What’s Right Despite the Consequences

Rawls’s Justice as Fairness: Balancing Freedom and Equality

Aristotelian Ethics: Live Well

Confucianism: Building Healthy Relationships

Altruism: Concern for Others

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

Part II. Practicing Individual Ethics in the Organization
2. Components of Personal Ethical Development
Chapter Preview

Component 1: Realistic Self-Appraisal

Component 2: Discovering Vocation

Component 3: Identifying Personal Values

Component 4: Developing Character

Component 5: Creating a Moral Identity

Component 6: Drawing Upon Spiritual Resources

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

3. Ethical Decision Making and Action
Chapter Preview

Once More With Feeling: Emotion in Moral Decision Making

Components of Ethical Behavior

Decision-Making Formats

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

Part III. Practicing Interpersonal Ethics in the Organization
4. Ethical Interpersonal Communication
Dialogue: An Ethical Framework for Interpersonal Communication

Chapter Preview

Ethical Communication Competencies

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

5. Exercising Ethical Influence
Chapter Preview

Questions of Power

Ethical Issues in Influence

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

6. Ethical Conflict Management and Negotiation
Chapter Preview

Conflict in Organizational Life

Becoming an Ethical Conflict Manager

Resolving Conflict Through Ethical Negotiation

Combating Aggression and Sexual Harassment

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

Part IV. Practicing Group, Leadership, and Followership Ethics
7. Improving Group Ethical Performance
Chapter Preview

Acting as a Morally Responsible Team Member

Responding to Ethical Danger Signs

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

8. Leadership Ethics
Chapter Preview

The Ethical Challenges of Leadership

The Shadow Side of Leadership

Normative Leadership Theories

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

9. Followership Ethics
Chapter Preview

The Growing Power of Followers

The Ethical Challenges of Followership

Meeting the Moral Demands of Followership: Principles and Strategies

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

Part V. Practicing Ethics in Organizational Systems
10. Building an Ethical Organization
Chapter Preview

Making Ethics Matter

Components of Ethical Culture

Cultural Change Efforts

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

11. Managing Ethical Hot Spots in the Organization
Chapter Preview

Ethical Marketing

Ethical Finance and Accounting

Ethical Human Resource Management

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

12. Promoting Organizational Citizenship
Chapter Preview

The Organization as Citizen

Promoting Organizational Citizenship

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

13. Ethics in a Global Society
Chapter Preview

The Dangers of Globalization and the Challenges of Ethical Diversity

Developing Cross-Cultural Ethical Competence

Chapter Takeaways

Application Projects

About the Author


Instructor Teaching Site
Calling all instructors!
It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site at for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources for Organizational Ethics, Third Edition, by Craig E. Johnson. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title! 

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Case notes include synopses, analyses, learning objectives, and discussion guides to assist with case-based teaching.
  • Teaching strategies, including suggestions for additional readings, provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.
  • Carefully selected, web-based video links feature content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics. When relevant, related questions for discussion are included.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content. 

“Craig provides a well-structured and comprehensive treatment of organizational ethics in a down-to-earth style. The relevant and cross-sector cases and examples make this an accessible learning tool for any student from any discipline.”

Linda G. Olson
University of Denver

“Organizational Ethics provides strong insight into the increasingly important field. Ethics is moving from being an optional business activity to becoming an integral part of any business that wishes to be successful and this book provides a particularly strong grounding in the practical aspects of ethics.”

Joseph K. Fitzgerald
IBAT College Dublin

“Johnson has provided a well thought out, thorough, and enjoyable text.”

John Osoinach
University of Delaware

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 10

Craig E. Johnson

Craig E. Johnson (PhD, University of Denver) is professor emeritus of leadership studies at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, ethics, and management. During his time at the university, he served as founding director of the George Fox Doctor of Business Administration program and chair of the Department of Communication Arts. He is the author of Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership (also published by SAGE) and coauthor, with Michael Z. Hackman, of Leadership: A Communication Perspective. He has published research findings, instructional ideas, and book reviews... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.