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Organizational Ethics

Organizational Ethics
A Practical Approach

Third Edition
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Other Titles in:
Business Ethics

April 2015 | 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

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Craig E. Johnson

Craig E. Johnson (PhD, University of Denver) is emeritus professor of leadership studies at George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, ethics, management and communication. During his time at the university he served as director of the George Fox Doctor of Business Administration program and chair of the Department of Communication Arts. Though retired from full-time teaching, Johnson continues to serve as an adjunct professor. He is the author of Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach (also published by Sage) and co-author, with Michael Z. Hackman, of Leadership: A... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483344409