With the continued evolution and globalization, most organizations have emulated significant cultural diversity among employees. With that, there has been a rise in unethical behaviours. In that context, it is crucial to understand how culture influences how employees behave as well as respond to various ethical issues. Culture plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s ethical ideology, influencing their propensity to act ethically. Cultural norms serve as a standard by which to judge the appropriateness and acceptability of specific behaviours. Personal traits are important in determining ethical behaviours (Dimitriou & Doucette, 2018). The cultural norms largely shape such personal traits
One of the ethical issues that affect several organizations is cheating on expenses. The term “expense cheating” describes an organized effort to overstate legitimate costs to receive more money. It happens when a worker voluntarily submits false receipts for business expenses. The most common types of expense fraud involve exaggerated claims for tips at restaurants, submissions exceeding permitted amounts, and submissions for unused items or trips. For example, they may pass off an extravagant dinner with friends as a “business dinner” and then bill your company for it. Such an issue has significant implications in that it is likely to affect the organisation’s financial aspects and, in turn, result in a reduction of the profit margins within the organization. Additionally, increasing the organizational cost through such cheating behaviour affects productivity, whereby the organization records a decline in sales. It might also result in a loss of stakeholder’s value (The Challenges of Expense Account Fraud. n.d.) Moreover, it has notable implications for the employee; they might end up losing their job if caught. Thus, an understanding of the cultural implication of such behaviours is crucial.
Culture is important in that it largely influences the employee perspectives regarding ethical behaviours, such as expense cheating. Ameer, I., & Halinen (2019) states that there has been a rise in unethical behaviours with the intense transformation. In that case, the cultural origin of an individual and the cultural norms of the employee is an important considerations to take into account when resolving such cultural issues. For instance, some individuals have cultural norms whereby they regard dishonesty as morally and ethically wrong. In that aspect, such employees are less likely to engage in activities such as cheating on expenses. Such is in line with the functionalism theory, which is based on the aspects that everything in a society, including its institutions, roles, norms, etc., has some sort of function and is necessary for the society to endure over time.
When resolving such issues, it is vital to consider the cultural perspectives in regard to such issues within the organizations in that it is the basis for cross-cultural and ethical management. Understanding the cultural norms of the employee is vital when delaying with a culturally diverse workforce, which has become common within most organizations. Tamunomiebi, M. D., & Ehior (2019) assert that most organisations have a rise in diversity. In that regard, culturally congruent health education sessions would be highly beneficial in ensuring that every employee understands why acting ethically is beneficial to the organization at large.
Thus, it is evidence that the cultural traits of an individual influences response to ethical issues such as cheating on expenses. In that regard, cross-cultural and ethical management requires the leader to consider the cultural norms of the employee in that it results in better outcomes.
Ameer, I., & Halinen, A. (2019). Moving beyond ethical decision-making: A practice-based view to study unethical sales behaviour. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 39(2), 103-122. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08853134.2018.1544077
Dimitriou, C. K., & Ducette, J. P. (2018). An analysis of the key determinants of hotel employees’ ethical behaviour. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 34, 66–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhtm.2017.12.002
Tamunomiebi, M. D., & Ehior, I. E. (2019). Diversity and Ethical Issues in the Organizations. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.6007/ijarbss/v9-i2/5620
The Challenges of Expense Account Fraud. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://harbert.auburn.edu/binaries/documents/center-for-ethical-organizational-cultures/cases/expense-account-fraud.pdf