Moral Emotions and Ethics in Organisations: Introduction to the Special Issue
12 Pages Posted: 25 May 2016 Last revised: 12 Aug 2016
Date Written: May 20, 2016
The aim of our special issue is to deepen our understanding of the role moral emotions play in organisations as part of a wider discourse on organisational ethics and morality. Unethical workplace behaviours can have far-reaching consequences — job losses, risks to life and health, psychological damage to individuals and groups, social injustice and exploitation and even environmental devastation. Consequently, determining how and why ethical transgressions occur with surprising regularity, despite the inhibiting influence of moral emotions, has considerable theoretical and practical significance to management scholars and managers alike. In this introduction, we present some of the core arguments in the field; notably, the effect of organisational life and bureaucracy on emotions, in general, and moral emotions, in particular; the moral standing of leaders, managers and followers; moral challenges raised by obedience and resistance to organisational power and ethical blindspots induced by what may appear as deeply moral emotions. These issues are explored by a collection of geographically diverse articles in various work contexts, which are thematically organised in terms of (i) moral emotions, ethical behaviour and social pressure, (ii) moral emotions and their consequences within/across levels of analysis, (iii) psychoanalytic perspectives on the management of moral emotions, (iv) virtue and moral emotions and (v) moral emotions and action tendencies. We end by suggesting certain avenues for future research in the hope that the endeavour initiated here will inspire improved practice at work.
Keywords: Ethics, Moral emotions, Morality organisation, Organising, Unethical behaviour
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