This chapter presents the ethical decision explanation of organizational wrongdoing. This explanation represents a bridge between the dominant and alternative accounts of wrongdoing. It is rooted in a theoretical perspective that views organizations as collections of people engaged in complementary tasks and views organizational participants as decision-makers. The first part of the chapter characterizes early theory and research about ethical decision-making. This work largely embraced the four assumptions that characterize the dominant approach, that is, it tended to assume that people deliberate mindfully and rationally, in social isolation, make discrete decisions, and formulate positive inclinations all before embarking on wrongdoing. The second part discusses and extends recent theory and research. This work jettisons several of the assumptions that underpin the dominant approach; most importantly, the assumption that ethical decision-making is a fully rational endeavor. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the ethical decision explanation.
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