Challenges in the sociology of business ethics: Researching whistleblowing

  • Tina Uys Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg
Keywords: Ambiguity, Business ethics research, Descriptive ethics, Embeddedness, Methodological challenges, Motives, Sensitivity, Whistle-blowing


The main research focus of the sociology of business ethics is on (i) the moral foundations of people’s behaviour, both within and outside the business context, (ii) how compatible or contradictory these behaviours are and (iii) how stable a society or component of a society would be if self-interest is the main governing principle, without being constrained by moral discipline. This entails providing accurate descriptions and explanations of ethical situations. Whistle-blowing research is used to examine the methodological challenges of business ethics researchers. The analysis demonstrates the importance of an integrated multi-strategy approach that would facilitate an investigation of the motivations and decision processes of individual actors in the larger social context, especially within the organisation. 


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