A CPA Hailey decided to report all of the marijuana business’s sales on the tax return files. Manager Harry told her that the company’s president does not want to report 25% of the sales, claiming that marijuana is a cash-centered industry (Mintz & Morris, 2020). Lastly, Harry requested Hailey to join the partner’s meeting related to the tax practice on Monday morning. Thus, to predict the possible ways of Hailey’s decision-making, it is essential to evaluate psychological factors contributing to ethical judgments in the workplace.
First, unethical behavior in the workplace can be motivated by social and organizational pressures. Matousek distinguishes two the most common social and corporate influences that can generate conditions where honest people choose to act immorally (Mintz & Morris, 2020). The first pressure is the proneness to be overly devoted to authority. In situations where there is a great ambition to satisfy executives, employees may act unethically to obtain the company’s objectives.
However, the literature suggests that, based on the person-situation interactionist model, the link between the situational and interest aspects is frequently modified by individual variables (Tian & Peterson, 2016). Personal variables might differ depending on each employee, including organizational association, loyalty, promotion-goal focus, and worker inclination toward ethical/dishonest conduct (Tian & Peterson, 2016). Thus, the pro-organizational attitudes, where an employee engages in ethically unacceptable behavior driven by a motive to support the company’s affairs, depends on external pressures and personal variables.
The other important factor contributing to employees’ decision-making process is the moral assessments and actions of peers. Therefore, the meeting on Monday might determine Hailey’s final arrangement, as she will be exposed to the opinions of other employees.
Harry also decided to inform Hailey about the situation because their firm wants to collaborate with other companies similar to Weeds’ R’ Us. He did this to use peer coercion and present the idea of future cooperation being welcomed by other employees. Moreover, the business cannot create a bank account, as cannabis companies remain forbidden under the federal law. Overall, the legal, corporate, and peer influence is creating a case of organizational and social pressure.
Furthermore, the way an employee wants to behave might differ from how they decide to act due to cognitive dissonance. It assumes that people have a strong willingness to harmonize individual attitudes and actions with inner-self. Thus, during the moments of inconsistency, some aspects have to change to reduce dissonance effects. The situation can be altered by changing the attitudes and beliefs, acquiring new information, and minimizing the cognitions’ importance (Mintz & Morris, 2020).
Therefore, while employees encounter situations that do not directly align with their previous experiences or attitudes, their final decision is based on ways they choose to eliminate the dissonance. Hailey felt that this situation is harmful to their company’s reputation, and the decision should not be based solely on the client’s will. However, Hailey’s decision will be determined based on how she will choose to cope with the effects and causes of dissonance. She may wish to change her opinion on the desire to be transparent in her reports or consider acting ethically in line with her current beliefs.
In conclusion, the decision-making process of Hailey from Weeds’ R’ Us solely depends on the level of her devotion to authority, as well as her personal values and beliefs. For example, she does not agree with the corporate’s decision and is not afraid to voice it. However, during the meeting on Monday, Hailey’s behavior will be based on her personal variables coming in contact with the external pressures.
Mintz, S., & Morris, R. (2020). Ethical obligations and decision-making in accounting: Text and cases. (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Tian, Q., & Peterson, D. (2016). The effects of ethical pressure and power distance orientation on unethical pro‐organizational behavior: The case of earnings management. Business Ethics, 25(2), 159-171. Web.