Politan U277-281 Holloway Road, London N7 8hn, Uk Email: D.Bartlett@Londonmet.Ac.Uk This Paper Critically Reviews the Literature Relating to the Management of Ethics Within Organizations and Identifies, in Line with

Management and Business Ethics: A
Critique and Integration of Ethical
Decision-making Models
Dean Bartlett
Management Research Centre, Department of Management and Professional Development, London
Metropolitan University, Stapleton House, 277-281 Holloway Road, London N7 8HN, UK
email: D.Bartlett@londonmet.ac.uk
This paper critically reviews the literature relating to the management of ethics within
organizations and identifies, in line with other authors, a gap between theory and
practice in the area. It highlights the role of management (both as an academic
discipline and from a practitioner perspective) in bridging this gap and views managers,
with their sense of individual ethical agency, as a key locus of ethics within
organizations. The paper aims to address the theory–practice gap by surveying the
business ethics literature in order to identify, draw together and integrate existing
theory and research, with a particular emphasis upon models of ethical decision-making
and their relationship to work values. Such an endeavour is necessary, not only because
of the relative neglect of management practice by business ethics researchers, but also
because of the current lack of integration in the field of business ethics itself. The paper
outlines some of the main methodological challenges in the area and suggests how some
of these may be overcome. Finally, it concludes with a number of suggestions as to how
the theory–practice gap can be addressed through the development of a research
agenda, based upon the previous work reviewed.
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, Shipley argued
that ‘we are, in the West, experiencing a turn
back to ethics’ in organizations (Shipley, 1998,
p. 1). However scandals such as that involving
the American company Enron continue to occur.
It has been argued that this is because business is
inherently unethical because of its emphasis upon
profit-seeking (Sudhir and Murthy, 2001). Indeed,