APA research paper on Ethics and Social Responsibility of the 21st Century, more specifically, related to sales/sales management. I have attached the beginnings which state reasons and justification for unethical behavior. I need these to be elaborated on in addition to research on corrective action and/or preventative measures by sales management. Another part of the paper needs to focus on social responsibility, hitting the same areas above and related to Sales Management. I need all sources cited. Feel free to add addition areas of focus, just to be sure to relate it to sales/sales management.
Ethical Behavior and Social Responsibility
Practices in the 21st Century
This dissertation examines why certain behavior and social responsibilities in the 21st century are
questioned to be unethical within an organization and society, identifying the reason for the
unethical behavior and the corrective action of Sales Management. Given the nature of sales,
ethical challenges can easily arise and it is the job of management to reduce such challenges that
could ultimately have negative business results if ignored. Social responsibility of the
organization, which can include the organizations environmental impact, societal assistance, and
reducing it’s “externalities” on society leaves room for unethical behavior. Sometimes, social
responsibilities are put aside for the responsibility to shareholders is this is where such behavior
comes into question and if it is an ethical decision. Management should be able to determine the
problem that is unethical, whether within the organization or society, why it occurred to begin
with and provide a solution for corrective behavior. Not only does corrective actions need to take
place, but it must be enforced which will ultimately improve the organizations approach towards
ethical behavior and social responsibility and its future practices.
Ethical Behavior and Social Responsibility
Practices in the 21st Century
A Review of the Literature
In a business enterprise, there is a mutual influence between ethical decisions and
economic decisions. Ethical decisions that management may execute affect the economy and
this affect directly ties into their social responsibility. Its activities should not be evaluated only
in terms of its financial repercussions, but rather for the common good, no matter how profitable,
in the short run and in the long run. Any form of ethics, whether personal or business is
considered in its simplest terms, right from wrong. Yet, what deters an organization and
management from what is morally good and participate in unethical decisions which then lead to
unfair impacts? According to Jurkiewicz, “There is no one transformative moment to which we
can point but, rather, an incremental shift from right to wrong that is barely perceptible on a dayto-day basis” (p. 3). It needs to be understood why management within an organization may
participate in corrupt behavior, what factors influence these decisions, alternatives to avoid these
decisions and how corrective action and preventative measures can prevent future immoral
Reasons for Unethical Behavior
Sales manager and salespeople are considered to be exposed to a greater amount of
ethical pressures compared to other individuals in other areas of an organization (Spiro, Rich &
Stanton, 2013, p. 485). “The visibility of sales, intense competitive pressures, rewards systems,
and the boundary-spanning roles of the sales function are all possible reasons for perceived
unethical behavior” (Bass, Barnett & Brown, 2001). Salespeople have little to no supervision,
and frequently do business away from the eyes of the senior members of their organization. In
addition, they are the main point of focus for the firm’s revenues and evaluation of their work is
based on short-term objectives of the organization. Pressure can drive sales representatives and
management to act unethical where in normal circumstances, wouldn’t normally participate.
Pressure to succeed, to get ahead, to meet deadlines and expectations and pressure from coworkers, bosses, customers, or vendors can all lead a person to engage in unethical activities.
Justification of Unethical Decision-Making
The general definition of ethics according to Spiro, Rich and Stanton is, “…moral
principles or practices…professional standards of conduct…”, that when one acts in an ethical
manner, “…conform(s) to some standard of moral behavior” (p. 485).Management, whether
sales or another department in an organization, could view ethical behavior according to their
“definition” and justify the reasoning as to why they needed to make such decisions. Jurkiewicz
references a stage theory of moral development and ethical reasoning by Kohlberg which defines
six stages of the “pyramid” from the most basic decision making from right to wrong to the most
complex stage of decision making. “At the lowest level, Heteronomous Morality, Kohlberg
exemplifies the most simplistic ethical reasoning as determining whether something is wrong or
not based upon whether individuals think they are likely to get in trouble for it” (p. 4).
The next two stages of ethical reasoning – Individualism, Instrumental Purpose, and
Exchange – explains that it occurs when it is immediately beneficial to the person, and that the
motivation to commit such immoral actions is to avoid punishment and seek reward for that
individual or organization. The third stage examines how one might participate in ethical
reasoning by justifying its occurrence due to the expectations surrounding them, whether
colleagues or organizational goals, known as Mutual Interpersonal Expectations, Relationships,
and Interpersonal Conformity. The fourth stage, Social System and Conscience, leads an
individual to believe that this behavior is acceptable since they are fulfilling their duties and
upholding laws except under extreme circumstances, even where they conflict with social duties.
The final stage, Universal Ethical Principles, is the height of the mentioned stages but goes
further than them to establish principles that supersede laws, customs, and duties (Jurkiewicz,
2012, p. 5). Once the unethical actions have been justified, the individual will no longer see it as
immoral but rather a necessity in order to benefit themselves as individuals, a department or an
Bass, K., Barnett, T., & Brown, G. (2001). The Moral Philosophy of Sales Managers and its
Influence on Ethical Decision Making. Personal Selling and Sales Management. Retrieved
This journal focuses on the sales manager’s decision-making process and the influence it
can have on the ethical climate of their sales organization. The study provided further
insight on the sales manager’s decisions and if they were impacted more given the nature
of the profession, compared to others. This source will assist my research by providing a
moral philosophy directly related to sales managers in addition to theories that could be
applied to this specific field.
Einstein, M. (2012). Compassion, Inc: How corporate America blurs the line between what we
buy, who we are, and those we help. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
In this book, Einstein explains how organizations participate in consumer-friendly
marketing tactics that leave a “feel-good” and the actual underlying negative impact. The
complexity of social and ethical problems is being down-played and Einstein reveals how
organizations are helping the corporate coffers rather than those said to be of their best
interest. In addition, Einstein reveals corporations that are actually living up to their
social responsibility and doing so by ethical means. This source relates to my research
topic “Ethical Behavior and Social Responsibility of the 21st Century” by exposing how
organizations might seem ethical towards consumers, however, it being revealed how
they are not living up to their social responsibility. It also exposes organizations that
follow through and act for the greater good.
Jurkiewicz, C. L. (2012). The foundations of organizational evil. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Jurkiewicz demonstrates in this book how organizations succumb to “evil”, taking into
account the interaction of individuals, organizations and environmental factors. He goes
beyond just stating the unethical behaviors and portrays the reasons organizations might
participate, and understanding it’s occurrence from a management and administrative
level. This source will relate to by topic by not only stating how organizations are being
unethical, but why and by what means. It goes beyond the exposure and answers the
“why” rather than “what” in addition to examining the outside factors.
Mendonca, M., & Kanungo, R. N. (2007). Ethical leadership. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open
In this student text, ethical decisions are examined from the perspective of the leader in a
culture where the need to earn profits and cut costs may become all-consuming. Practical
strategies are presented in order for leadership to be effective in addition to ethical. This
source supports by topic by providing a functioning view point to ethical behavior in
regards to leadership and why such decisions are made and how leaders can create a
Mitchell, L. E. (2001). Corporate irresponsibility: America’s newest export. New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press.
In addition to stating the ways corporations act unethical, this book examines the
solutions to managers and organizations that would avoid unethical behavior. Mitchell
demonstrates the extent to which contemporary corporate behavior represents a
corruption of cherished liberal values of personal freedom and individuality. These
restraints may contribute to unethical decision making within these organizations. This
source assists my research by examining the reasons why individuals within an
organization may commit unethical actions, boiling it down to the liberal values that are
Spiro, Rich, & Stanton (2008). Management of a Sales Force (12th ed.). United States: McGrawHill.
This text displays the sale’s manager role in a current organization and all the changes
that will impact their role. This can include the expansion of globalization to customer’s
treading means of purchasing products. This source assists my topic by focusing on the
sales manager and their role within the organization. It examines different elements, all of
which can impact the managers decision-making process and if they can act ethical and
how they can persuade their team to do the same.
Visser, W. (2011). The Age of Responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the New DNA of Business.
Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.
In this book, Visser focuses on the social responsibility of corporations, examining the
limits and failures of “CSR” and the types of reforms that need to occur that help
organizations be genuine in their responsibility to society. He states the current status of
CSR and what needs to take place in order to move forward. I chose this source because
it focused more so on social responsibility rather than ethical behavior and also provides
the necessary actions that need to transpire in order to proceed in a more responsible