Exploring the Ethicality of Firing Employees Who Blog
Valentine Fleischman Sprague and Godkin, Human Resource Management Jan/Feb 49(1): 87-108, 2015
Posted: 23 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 21, 2015
This exploratory study evaluates the ethical considerations related to employees fired for their blogging activities. Specifically, subject evaluations of two employee-related blogging scenarios were investigated with established ethical reasoning and moral intensity scales, and a measure of corporate ethical values was included to assess perceptions of organizational ethics. The first scenario involved an employee who was fired because of innocuous blogging, while the second vignette involved an employee who was fired because of work-related blogging. Survey data were collected from employed college students and working practitioners. The findings indicated that the subjects’ ethical judgments that firing an employee for blogging was unethical were negatively related to unethical intentions to fire an employee for blogging. Moral intensity was positively related to ethical judgments and negatively related to unethical intentions to fire an employee for blogging, while individual perceptions of ethical values were negatively associated with unethical intentions. Finally, subjects perceived that terminating an employee for innocuous blogging that did not target an employer was more ethically intense than was firing an employee for work-related blogging. The implications of the findings for human resource professionals are discussed, as are the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research.
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