Law Versus Ethics in Management

14 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2001

See all articles by Susan M. Anstead

Susan M. Anstead

University of Maryland, University College

Date Written: July 6, 1999


A relationship exists between law and ethics. In some instances, law and ethics overlap and what is perceived as unethical is also illegal. In other situations, they do not overlap. In some cases, what is perceived as unethical is still legal, and in others, what is illegal is perceived as ethical. A behavior may be perceived as ethical to one person or group but might not be perceived as ethical by another.

Further complicating this dichotomy of behavior, laws may have been legislated, effectively stating the government's position, and presumably the majority opinion, on the behavior. As a result, in today's diverse business environment, one must consider that law and ethics are not necessarily the same thing.

In this report, I will discuss the definitions of both "law" and "ethics". I will further discuss the relationship between law and ethics, and what considerations managers must entertain.

Keywords: law, ethics, management

Suggested Citation

Anstead, Susan M., Law Versus Ethics in Management (July 6, 1999). Available at SSRN: or

Susan M. Anstead (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, University College ( email )

32 Carriage House Circle
Graduate School of Management & Technology
Alexandria, VA 22304
United States
703-751-0796 (Phone)

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