outline of ethics research project


Glenn is undertaking a PhD in business ethics. He is in search of managers based in New South Wales, Australia, to interview.

About the project

A lot has been written about ethics in business, but it remains a sensitive issue and views differ on what managers’ ethical obligations are. Organisations also differ in what they say about ethics and in how they act. Some organisations have codes of ethics and assert an ethical position in public statements.

But there is always the question of practice – what actually happens? In the midst, managers are often faced with a variety of pressures – to balance ethics with business outcomes and, in some cases, to act in ways they see as unethical.

This study engages managers in conversations about ethics in their experience as a manager. It does not assume that managers act unethically or that acting ethically is always a matter of great difficulty. The study does assume that ethical issues arise when you are a manager, and that it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to do.

These are loosely structured conversations rather than interviews, to enable you to speak freely. I am interested in how ethics arises in your role as manager, what tensions may exist, and what ethical thinking guides your decisions. I am interested in where your ethical views come from, and I want you to tell the story of an ethical episode that significantly affected your stance towards ethics (it could be a ‘good’ experience or a ‘bad’ one).

Participants in this study will be practising and/or experienced managers in the commercial, public or not-for-profit sectors, and at various levels in their organisation’s hierarchy. As an extension of the conversations, if participants are interested there is scope for a group meeting to occur to share stories and views on ethics in management.

Let me know if you are interested in participating in this study. We can then arrange a time and place to meet. It is anticipated that the conversations will take about 60 minutes.

Glenn Martin
School of Business
University of Notre Dame Australia

Email: glennpmartin@optusnet.com.au