How Codes of Ethics Deal with Fear in the Workplace

  •  Pierluigi Santosuosso    


The relationship between decision-making and emotions has been increasingly explored in the past thirty years by physicians, psychologists and economists. Because of the impact that emotions have on human behaviour, ethical implications need to be examined if we consider that managers could use emotions to motivate employees. This paper analyses the content of the code of ethics of 278 companies listed on the Italian stock exchange in order to verify how the codes take into account the emotion of fear experienced by employees in the workplace. Research findings revealed that companies have failed to consider the word “fear” and most of the other terms expressing similar emotions. On the other hand, their codes of ethics focused on ethical standards that should be respected, such as the dignity of each single individual and on unethical actions that must be avoided, such as acts of physical or psychological violence. 

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