Effect of Unethical Behavior Article Analysis

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Essay about unethical behavior in organizations

Situations for unethical behavior

Several acts of unethical behavior in organizations are driven by the need for money. As such, organizationshire accountants from outside agencies for the services of auditing financial information in their favor(Gould & Kaplan, 2008). Inside accountants may obtain a raise or bonus for the practice to continue successfully.However, such practices are backed by direct supervision or pressure that stems from the upper management of theorganization. A threat of job loss is sufficient to make an individual to exceed limits. Hence, such employeeshave to engage in unethical conduct in order to preserve their job positions. The main driving force for engagementin the accounting malpractice in such a situation is the desire to follow the orders from the boss and help theorganization to attain the desired survival.

“Opportunity makes the thief” is an applicable saying in the organizations among the crooked accountants(Gould and Kaplan, 2008). Individuals that would never engage in any malpractice often find themselves in sucha situation when an opportunity presents itself. Since accounting involves handling large amounts of money,accountants succumb to such temptations in order to satisfy their financial needs. A disconnect of the individualwith the normal world things outside a firm would lead to accounting irregularities. This is possible when one isexposed to accounting activities of a company, which seek to benefit it for its survival purposes. Such an individualloses a touch of normal things in the external world and develops this habit of accounting irregularities.

Ignorance is not a valid excuse for one to engage in illegal actions, but it plays a significant role in thecommitting of accounting crimes. Thus, inexperienced accountants may break the law because of misunderstandingof the regulations and rules on tax. Such accountants become victims of accounting crimes because of ignoranceof the existing laws and regulations in their profession. Furthermore, some accountants engage in this behaviorin order to further their career. Such individuals find it easier to commit the crime in order to obtain fundsfor furthering their education. Nevertheless, improper training of accountants and poor working environment maytrigger individuals to engage in unethical behavior. Effective training of accountants needs to focus on ethicalbehavior, which will instill skills of delivery of quality accounting services. Failure to do this results in theemergence of individuals who are not concerned about ethics. When this is mixed with a working environment that ischaracterized of cynicism or diminished people, the situation becomes worse.

Effect of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2001

According to Beth (2010), the Act compels the officers and principal executive officers or individuals performingsimilar functions to sign the financial statements as an acknowledgement for effective reviewing of the report andthere is no misleading or fraudulent information contained inside. The financial statements also have to representmaterial on all financial conditions aspects. Further, such documents have to be prepared annually and made availablefor the public viewing. The management team of the organizations is also tasked with the responsibility of ensuringquality internal control on the financial statements. Moreover, the Act provides penalties for offenses related tofabrication, alteration or destruction of evidence linked to fraud offenses (Beth, 2010).

Discussion question

What are the justifications for the unethical behavior in organizations?


Beth, H. (2010). Eight years after the fact is SOX working? A look at the Brooke Corporation.Journal of business case studies 6.6, 19-29.

Gould, M, & Kaplan, T. (2008). Leaning unethical practices from a co-worker. The peer effects of Jose Canseco.