Business Ethics for Managers Thesis

Pages: 6 (1548 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Interconnection Between Ethics and

Psychology In Business Management

Some aspects of modern business ethics are regulated by statutory law while other are not necessarily defined by formal legal requirements. However, in a more fundamental sense, business ethics are substantially related to human personal and social psychology, primarily because it is the moral perspective of the individual that is responsible for many decisions that raise ethical issues, both in general as well as within business practices.

First, various elements of individual self-esteem and self-image are responsible for much of the manner in which the individual perceives, relates to, and interacts with, others, both in the business environment as well as more generally in life. Second, appreciating the objective concepts that generate and resolve issues of ethical business practices require a minimum level of intellectual reasoning skills that are simply not prerequisites for promotion to management levels within professional business organizations. Finally, psychological integrity varies tremendously from person to person and maintaining high standards of personal integrity and respect for principles of objective fairness and the concept of ethical justice usually requires a very specific psychological commitment on the part of the individual.

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The Fundamental Link Between Business Management, Psychology, and Ethical Values:

Thesis on Business Ethics for Managers Assignment

As a very general principle of human social psychology, one important direct determinant of the way individuals perceive, relate to, and treat others is the nature and psychological health of the personal self-image (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2007) and the corresponding level of self-esteem associate with that self-esteem (Branden, 1999). More specifically, business management often includes responsibilities in the realm of interpersonal relationships as they pertain to supervising, educating, mentoring, evaluating, rewarding, and criticizing subordinates. Furthermore, the elements of personal psychology influence these essential personnel management business functions on two different levels: situational perception and situational response (Branden, 2004).

In principle, much of what accounts for many of the difference between socially productive and socially unproductive individuals is a function intellectual capacity and psychological orientation. Certainly, external factors and various types of opportunities and environmental advantages also contribute significantly, as do genetic predisposition toward myriad natural abilities. But, factoring out all of those non-psychological factors as constants reveals the tremendous extent to which the relative intellectual reasoning skills and the psychological orientation of the individual determine fundamental management decisions and leadership style (Meyers & Spencer, 2004). Undoubtedly,

there are exceptions even at the highest levels of executive business management and government, but as a general rule, where management fails to uphold high ethical standards of conduct and policy, it is much more likely attributable to psychological factors and "selective" ignorance than to lack of the intellectual capacity to understand ethical concepts (Scheuer, 2004).

At the highest levels of executive business management and government, self-esteem, self-awareness, and the ability to analyze objective ethical values and principles can establish an entity-wide corporate or national culture that exemplifies either respect for truth, ethical principles, and a commitment to justice or a culture that disregards truth, ethical principles, and recognizes no such commitment to justice (Meyers & Spencer,

2004; Scheuer, 2004).

The Definition and Relevance of Self-Esteem:

As described by renowned social psychologist Nathaniel Branden in a series of published commentaries and books, self-esteem is a qualitative measure of the genuine positive feelings that the individual maintains about himself (Branden, 1999; 2004). It is a complex topic for several reasons. Numerous foundational elements of self-esteem contribute to its development, they differ substantially in their interrelationship to the outward behavior of the individual, and most counterintuitively, they can result in diametrically opposite behavioral responses (Branden, 1999; 2004).

In the context of business management, that means managers with healthy self-esteem are much more likely to negotiate interpersonal elements of their vocational responsibilities most appropriately, although still subject to specific non-psychology-

based differences in skill and ability. By contrast, managers with characteristic low self-

esteem are much more likely to negotiate interpersonal elements of their vocational responsibilities inappropriately, unfairly, and in a more biased and less ethical manner.

Moreover, in general, these differences are as much a function of perception than of purposeful decision making (Branden, 1999; 2004; Halbert & Ingulli, 2007).

Two Diametrically Opposite Motivations for Professional Achievement:

One of the most perplexing aspects of low self-esteem and its behavioral consequences is that it one of the many ways that it can manifest itself outwardly mirror, at least superficially, the manifestations of healthy self-esteem (Branden, 1999; 2004). In

that regard, consider that the underlying motivation for virtually any human achievement

can be motivated by the proverbial "carrot" or "stick." That metaphor envisions genuine confidence in one's actual abilities, accurate and objective perception and evaluation of others, and general appreciation for ethical concepts as direct manifestations of healthy self-esteem, in which case professional achievement represents the desire to achieve worthwhile goals for their intrinsic value (Branden, 2004).

Conversely, false outward displays of confidence, biased or egocentric perception and evaluation of others, and a general ignorance or knowing disregard for ethical principles correspond to low self-esteem; paradoxically, they may motivate some of the very same professional achievements. However, the manner in which the individual approaches many managerial tasks, particularly in the realm of interpersonal relationships will usually differ quite profoundly in the pursuit of those professional goals (Branden,


Whereas the business manager fortunate enough to have healthy self-esteem pursues his career substantially on the basis of genuine satisfaction of doing good work or work that is inherently valuable or useful, the business manager motivated to similar outward achievements by the need to overcompensate for inner doubts and fears of not being "good enough" pursues his career more on the basis of becoming "more" or "better" than he actually believes and fears his is in his truest underlying self-perception.

Moreover, because the manager suffering from low self-esteem requires continual external affirmation of his worthiness, he perceives his subordinates' most essential role as mirrors of his image and therefore rewards interpersonal attention and flattery as much or more than professional merit (Branden 1999; 2004).

Implications for Modern Business Management:

The implications for business management are that business managers whose own professional achievement and position of authority are the result of professional motivation by healthy self-esteem and its corresponding "carrots" tend to maintain an appropriate concern for ethical standards of business practice. That may manifest itself in numerous ways. The manager with high self-esteem tends to perceive others more accurately, whereas his counterpart suffering from low self-esteem is much more likely to misperceive others, often by projecting his own perspective and motives to others

(Branden, 2004).

The manager with healthy self-esteem tends to evaluate subordinates objectively and to reward their professional accomplishments based on merit and on strictly objective criteria. Conversely, the manager with low self-esteem is more likely to evaluate subordinates subjectively and to reward them selectively based on their displays of respect and admiration for him personally, responding more positively to behavior designed to curry favor through flattery and the proverbial "brown-nosing" than by virtue of functional accomplishments and objective criteria (Branden, 2004).

Depending on the level of management within an organization, the motivation by high self-esteem or low self-esteem can become a predominant element featured in the organizational culture with profound ethical implications. Organizations (and governments) lead by executive management staff dominated by low self-esteem-based motivation tend to hire and promote middle managers who manifest similar personal psychological profiles. Meanwhile, those lead by executive management staff demonstrating healthy self-esteem-based motivation tend to hire and promote middle managers who exemplify those personal qualities (Halbert & Ingulli, 2007).

In that regard, it is easy to see how organizational ethical approaches relate directly to psychological factors. Organizations that recognize genuine professional merit and strive for organizational goals defined by their objective intrinsic value tend to elevate ethical considerations to a high level of importance within the organizational culture. Conversely, organizations… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Business Ethics for Managers" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Business Ethics for Managers.  (2009, April 27).  Retrieved January 23, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Business Ethics for Managers."  27 April 2009.  Web.  23 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Business Ethics for Managers."  April 27, 2009.  Accessed January 23, 2021.