Unethical behavior in the workplace is defined as any act that violates a recognized moral code or other ethical standards. This is different from illegal actions because it involves the violation of moral norms and not the law. Businesses have set ethical guidelines for their stakeholders, but unethical behavior is when they don’t follow these standards. Since everyone is susceptible to unprofessional conduct, any stakeholder can be exposed. Common workplace unethical actions include aggressive behavior, exploitation of resources and violation of company regulations. This research focuses on understanding unethical workplace practices by placing the concept in context and detailing how employees, supervisors, line staff, and other personnel engage in them. Recognizing these signs of unethical conduct can help companies develop innovative solutions that address their individual issues.
They may seem similar in the way they try to provide managers and employees norms for inter-personal interaction within the market. However, these two concepts are not the same. To distinguish between unlawful and unethical conduct, it is important to understand the difference. Continued by the scholar, “unethical conduct” is defined as an action that relies on a knowledge of moral right and wrong. De Cremer and Moore (2020) define unlawful as anything which violates the law. Unlawful conduct at work is illegal. Legal compliance is the main distinction between illegal and ethical conduct at work. All actions which violate the law will be considered illegal. However, unethical behavior is defined as actions that society considers to be ethically unacceptable.
Workers’ social and psychological orientation strongly impacts their work behavior. Although social interaction establishes ethical norms to improve social functioning, certain individuals will accept membership to groups because of their psychological identification with these norms. Infringement of organization-approved norms and behaviors. Unethical behavior at work can hinder members’ ability to collaborate effectively on a social scale. Unprofessional behavior, including harassment, bullying and dishonesty can lead to workers losing their trust in the organization. It can have psychological effects that limit an employee’s ability to achieve his or her full potential, depending on what unethical behavior was taken (Palmer and colleagues, 2017). Psychological impacts are centered on the attitudes, motivation, and actions of employees. A hostile workplace can reduce employees’ commitment to their work and lead to lower productivity.