Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Perceptions of Academic Staff on Workplace Ethics in Higher Education Institutions

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Perceptions of Academic Staff on Workplace Ethics in Higher Education Institutions

Article excerpt


Workplace ethics are moral values for proper conduct at work (Blum, 1988). They are norms of work culture and morals of people at work. However, the implications of workplace ethics have altered scopes by leadership styles, gender stereotypes, moral intensities, and moral characters of people at workplace (Heilman, 2012). Ethics at workplace are experiential in several forms as they often appear to be political in nature without any indication or evidence (Cohen & Vigoda, 1999; Dandan & Marques, 2017). Therefore, organizations would appeal uniformity in ethical behaviour of employees to sustain the ethical work culture (Ergas, 2017). However, autonomy of employees towards organization's ethical practices is crucial to withstand the ethical work culture.

In this context, perceptions of academic staff on workplace ethics is discussed in this paper by a survey at selected universities in Saudi Arabia where ethics are well defined by Islamic law 'Sharia ' and the work culture is emulated by the age-old Islamic culture as instinctive from religious movements (Khan, 2014). This paper deliberated the major abnormalities in terms of high discrepancies and close propinquities in the perceptions of academic staff regarding three variables of workplace ethics such as ethical compliance, fairness and trust.

Brief Review of Study Variables

Olson (2013) proposed three variables of workplace ethics that would shape the ethical work culture of organizations such as ethical compliance, fairness and trust. Researchers reinforced these three variables and discussed their implications as follows.

Ethical Compliance

It is the practice of norms and values by employees of organizations based on expectations of society. Schwartz (2011) find that a minimal ethical compliance would exist in the organizations by the differences in the awareness levels on workplace ethics and it reveal that once the employees are conscious of ethics at workplace they are less affordable to comply with ethical practices of organizations. Thomas & Kamalanabhan (2012) suggest that workplace ethics is highly needed for greater self-compliance among employees. Ngang & Chan (2015) argue that for greater ethical compliance at workplace it is desirable to extricate the employee's views on workplace ethics before they join the organizations. Nair et al., 2017 appeal that organization's efforts to vigilant the employees on disasters at big corporations like Enron and the other corporate scandals that occurred around the world would rather demand the employees to uphold high ethical compliance at workplace.


Fairness is the equity and justice over the organization policies and decisions that would affect the employee' s behaviours and work culture. Putranta and Kingshott (2010) emphasize that fairness of employees in organizations would nurture the positive work culture. Gilliland and Langdon (1998) make known that fairness of employees would remain central to several decisions that include compensations, discipline, ethical behaviour of employees, payoffs and so on. Meanwhile, Grant and Ashford (2008) find that employees would always link organizational fairness with the acumen of superiors in the remunerations and reward systems and accordingly they would discern the organizational justice to expend their efforts. Cohen-Charash & Mueller (2007) identify that there is counterproductive work behaviour in the organizations due to unfairness in the decisions of superiors and high levels of envy among the people at work.


Trust is the mutual assessment of employee's ethical characters at workplace. Phillips et al. (2014) specify that trust among employees is central to ethical work life and it develops the moral characters and suitable group behaviours among the employees at workplace. According to Darley et al. (1998) trust would advance the effective relationships of employees of different levels and it would enhance the coordination at work. …

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