Diversity and Ethics Issues – Relevance to Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior – Theoretical Frameworks

Social Cognitive theory say behavior, personal factors and social factors reciprocally influence each other. Attention to diversity and ethics by organizations is part of social factors that reciprocally influences personal factors and behavior. Hence the study of diversity and ethics  as important trend in organizational change dimensions is done in OB.

Specific characteristics of diversity


In USA, work force is getting progressively older. Now with no mandatory retirement age, number of age discrimination complaints are increasing.


Women are entering employment in record numbers. By end of century, that by end of 2000, in USA women are likely to make up half the workforce.


According to census projections by 2050 US population will increase to 392 million, and Latinos will emerge as the nation’s largest minority overtaking African Americans.


Educational level of the US workforce is increasing.

In addition to the above language also may become diversity issue.

Organizational behavior recognizes the increasing diversity in the society and workforce and therefore is advocating development of multicultural organizations.

Some featues of multicultural organizations

1. They reflect the contributions and interests of diverse cultural and social groups in their mission, operations, and product or services.
2. Acts on a commitment to eradicate social oppression in all forms within the organization.
3. Includes the members of diverse cultural and social groups as full participants, especially in decisions that shape the organization.
4.Supports efforts in society and in other organizations efforts to eliminate all forms of social oppression.

Managers have to learn about personal values of various constituent groups and how the individuals would like to be treated. They also have to practice empathy. They have put themselves in the place of others and see things from their point of view to know their challenges.

Organizational Approaches to Managing Diversity

Testing: Test conducted for recruitment were modified to prevent culturally bias that leads to handicap for certain groups.

Mentoring: Mentors used to remove handicaps faced by disadvantaged groups.

Work/Family Programs: To take care of gender diversity,  very innovative family-friendly programs are emerging.

Ethics and Ethical Behavior in Organizations

Ethics involves moral issues and deals with right and wrong behavior.

What is morality? (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/)

Some psychologist, take morality to include concern with, at least, all three of the triad of (1) harm, (2) purity, and (3) loyalty. Most societies have moralities that are concerned with, at least, all three members of this triad. Concern with harm appears in the form of enforceable rules against killing, causing pain, mutilating, etc. Some may appeal to religion, others to tradition, and others to rational human nature in declaring morals and moral behavior. Descriptive moralities are morals of a specific societies or tribes. The descriptive moralities are put forward by an  individual or a group, usually a society, and  they provide a guide for the behavior of the people in that group or society.

While morals and morality are not academic subjects, ethics is the name of a subject. In the subjects of ethics, morals is the subject matter. It is like chemistry having chemicals as the subject matter. Ethics has morals as the subject matter. Various issues or attributes related to morals are studied in the Ethics subject. Ethical behavior refers to moral behavior. (See for more Business Ethics – Introduction)

Cultural , organizational and external environment determine ethical behavior. Cultural influences on ethical behavior come from family, friends, neighbors, education, religion, and the media. Organizational influences come from ethical codes, role models, policies and practices, and reward and punishment systems. The external forces (forces external to an organization) that impact ethical behavior include religious, political, legal, economic, and international developments.

Luthans indicated that ethics is a recent addition to OB textbooks.  Alexander Stajkovic and Fred Luthans authored “Business Ethics across Cultures: A Social Cognitive Model,” Journal of World Business, Spring 1997, pp. 17-34. The paper may provide the background for introduction of ethics content in OB textbooks.

Luthans indicated that in the area of ethical behavior, issues related to sexual harassment, discrimination in pay and promotion, and the right to privacy are especially relevant to the study of organizational behavior.

Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment in the workplace can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Employers have to uphold the rights of employees to a work environment free of sexual harassment.

One of the important organizational mechanism is to create a state of the art policy.

Pay and Promotion discrimination

Organizations must design and implement programs that systematically attack discrimination and segregation at multiple levels of the structure.

Employee Privacy Issues

The Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) makes employers potentially liable for invading employees’ email or stored communications.

Introduction to Organizational Behavior – Online Book

May – Management Knowledge Revision – Cost and Management Accounting and Organizational Behavior

Updated 15 May 2019,  13 May 2019,    9.7.2014, 24.2.2014