An Internal Stakeholder Approach to the Evaluation of Ethical Behaviour in a Scoal Enterprise Hotel

PhD Thesis

Lalu, J. A. C. 2024. An Internal Stakeholder Approach to the Evaluation of Ethical Behaviour in a Scoal Enterprise Hotel. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Business & Law
AuthorsLalu, J. A. C.
TypePhD Thesis

This study aims to comprehend the meanings of ethical behaviour and the organisational implications for ethics institutionalisation (EI) in a social enterprise hotel. Despite widespread ethical misconduct, empirical research on EI in the hospitality industry is scarce. Adopting an internal stakeholder approach, this study explores the meanings employees attribute to ethical behaviour and implications for EI.

This qualitative study adopts a social constructionist epistemology and an embedded single-case study design to explore the meanings attributed to ethical behaviour and EI from the perspectives of internal stakeholders of a social enterprise hotel. Individual semi structured open-ended interviews were conducted with nine employees representing three hierarchical levels from frontline and backline departments. A reflexive thematic analysis was conducted using eclectic coding methods within a normative stakeholder and ethical decision making theoretical framework. Data analysis occurred at three levels: intrapersonal analysis identified key topics (topic summaries) for each participant; interpersonal analysis developed recurring themes across transcripts; and organisational analysis examined organisational implications.

Through an embedded case study of a social enterprise hotel, findings reveal six themes surrounding ethical behaviour: prosocial teamwork, multidirectional candid communication, understanding differences, the organisation’s social purpose, brand representation, and the ideal-practice dilemma. Prosocial teamwork, communication, and empathy (affective, cognitive, and ethnocultural) are identified as fundamental pillars of ethical behaviour. Employee brand representation and the organisation’s social purpose are considered essential aspects of individual and organisational ethical behaviour. The ideal-practice dilemma sheds lights on the complexities of consistent ethical behaviour. Drawing upon these findings, organisational implications are proposed to promote endogenous ethical behaviour aimed at an ethical workplace and exogenous ethical behaviour aimed at an ethical purpose. An ethical organisation is the intersection of an ethical workplace and purpose.

This research makes five key contributions. Firstly, it demonstrates the complementary roles of implicit and explicit EI, when aligned. Secondly, it identifies five dimensions of multidirectional candid communication and links them to ethical behaviour. Thirdly, it delineates five dimensions of prosocial teamwork and establishes teamwork as a driver of ethical behaviour. Fourthly, it distinguishes three forms of empathy tied to ethical behaviour. Fifthly, it integrates normative stakeholder and ethical decision making theories to align ethical decision making with stakeholder value creation. Overall, this study advances theoretical understanding of EI, communication, teamwork, empathy, and their relationships to ethical behaviour and stakeholder value creation.

This research takes an inductive approach to investigate EI and yields new insights into antecedents of EI. Rather than classifying internal stakeholders into generic hierarchical categories, they are regarded as individual actors, each in their own right. Such an approach provides a more holistic understanding of ethical behaviour in relation to EI.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication process dates
Completed18 Mar 2024
Deposited09 May 2024
Copyright holder© 2024, The Author
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