Business Basics : A Grounded Theory for Managing Ethical Behavior in Sales Organizations
Abstract: Background: Managing co-workers’ ethical behavior in sales organizations is a complex social process. To start, sales organizations incorporate several actors to manage, often simultaneously, all with their own agendas. Ethics as a topic is convoluted because it encompasses context-based scenarios which may not have clear-cut right and wrong answers. The management process is an ongoing task managers deal with on daily basis, where mismanagement can lead to severe consequences. The majority of existing research on this area tends to focus on single factors in the management process, not the whole process. While there are some research studies that presents models or integrated frameworks describing the management process, they are few in number.Aim: The aim of this study is to derive empirical concepts and thereby try to develop a theory to facilitate an understanding of the process of managing co-workers’ ethical behavior, where the purpose is to ultimately build an integrated framework. More specifically, this study aims to describe the involved actors’ main concerns and the process by which these are continuously resolved.Methodology: In order to achieve the aim, a method with an inductive approach was necessary. The orthodox Grounded Theory methodology was chosen as research approach since it can generate conceptualizations in an integrated framework which help explain the occurring social processes. Working from this approach means that the researcher develops a new theory that is grounded in empirical data, where the researcher inductively describes the social process. The empirical data was mainly derived from interviews with actors within the field. The data was collected, coded and conceptualized in an overlapping procedure until an empirically derived theory emerged After the emergence of the theory, the empirical data was validated with existing academic literature.Findings: The core category in this study is Business Basics and concerns the desire to continuously conduct business where the management of ethical behavior is a fundamental basis to achieve this. Five distinct categories, all related to the core category were revealed: Bureaucratization, Relationship Investing, Educationing, Monetary Managing and Intuiting. These categories are expressed in social and dynamic processes. They represent different activities, tools, influences and practices that managers can adopt in order to reach their main concern.Contribution: As a contribution, this dissertation provides an integrated framework based on the actors own subjective experiences, describing the dynamic and social processes of managing co-workers ethical behavior in sales organizations.
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