The Appearance Standard: Criteria and Remedies for When a Mere Appearance of Unethical Behavior is Morally Unacceptable

13 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Muel Kaptein

Muel Kaptein

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

While there are companies whose codes of ethics state that mere appearance of unethical behavior by employees is morally unacceptable, this so‐called appearance standard has hardly received any attention in the business ethics literature. Using corporate integrity theory, this article explores the criteria that may explain how mere appearances of unethical behavior can arise (i.e., the presence of conflicts of interests, the entanglement of these interests, a reputation for lack of integrity, and deviant outcomes) and those that may make such appearances morally unacceptable (i.e., foreseeability, avoidability, and seriousness). The article proposes remedies for preventing and resolving instances when mere appearance of unethical behavior is morally unacceptable.

Suggested Citation

Kaptein, Muel, The Appearance Standard: Criteria and Remedies for When a Mere Appearance of Unethical Behavior is Morally Unacceptable (January 2019). Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 28, Issue 1, pp. 99-111, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3322725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/beer.12195

Muel Kaptein (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

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