Organizational ethics has been studied for many years, particularly in response to widely publicized scandals in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors worldwide. Such scandals raise important questions about organizational ethics and have become more prominent in recent years as business organizations have become increasingly central institutions, often eclipsing the state, family, and community in their social, political, economic, and technological influence. At its core, organizational ethics research explores the tension between what people should do (prescriptive ethics) and what people actually do (descriptive ethics) in their organizations. This entry discusses the significance of organizational ethics research, its most common topics, relevant theories, and typical methodologies. In addition, this entry addresses some of the key challenges of conducting organizational ethics research.
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