Trish Oelrich, School of Human and Organizational Development
Research from 20th and 21st century scholars demonstrates from any moral or cognitive perspective, that social determinants play a dominant role, particularly on ethical behavior. This study’s main purpose was to examine how employees’ ethical behaviors differ when using social technology as compared to traditional face-to-face communications. Using a practice lens, narrative inquiry was used to capture the lived experiences of 22 employees, including managers and senior managers, from three large, global companies (two highly regulated) that use social technologies in their everyday work situations.
The results of this study suggest that the use of social technologies in the workplace promotes ethical behavior, if guided by good leadership. While ethical leadership is always important, it is critical in environments where the audience is much broader, and leaders are more accessible. Leaders need to recognize the unique skill set required for optimized use of social technology in the workplace. They must build and invest in the management of their own reputation as an ethical leader.
KEY WORDS: Ethical Behavior, Moral Psychology, Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Ethical Leadership, Ethical Infrastructure, Social Technology, Enterprise Social Technology, Ethics.