Communication Ethics and Organizational Contexts

Divergent Values and Moral Puzzles

Authored by: Matthew W. Seeger , Timothy Kuhn

The Handbook of Communication Ethics

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  January  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415994644
eBook ISBN: 9780203890400
Adobe ISBN: 9781135846671


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Ethics have become vogue in the design, management, and external representation of organizations. This new emphasis on ethics might simply be a way to counter the criticism from a steady stream of major corporate scandals and a way to capitalize on new consumer interests. Yet ethics, and the values on which they are based, are much more than corporate window dressing. Rather, they are woven into the fundamental structural/cultural fabric, taken-for-granted assumptions, patterns of language and interaction, and day-to-day routines of organizational life (see Cheney, 1999; Knouse & Giacalone, 1992). They are enacted in the dynamic moment-to-moment processes of organizational operation at deep levels and reflected in a collective value system. Communication plays a central role in constituting this collective value system (Conrad, 1993; Deetz, 1995; Simms & Brinkman, 2002). As we argue later, communication in organizations is both part of the process of constituting an ethical climate and a specific domain of ethical praxis (Seeger, 1997, 2004).

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