Sample Business Studies Research Paper on The Ethical Trap

The Ethical Trap

An ethical trap consists of two kinds of ethical decisions, primary and secondary ethical decisions. Poor primary ethical decisions certainly lead to secondary ethical choices (Tang, 2016). Secondary ethical decisions are perceived to be inherently more difficult to resolve as they need justification for the primary ethical decisions. Ethical traps are hard to escape.

An ethical dilemma that I am aware of in my organization is embezzlement. The chief executive officer usually leaves a few blank signed checks in his safe before going on other duties outside the organization. Presumably, he often uses these blank signed checks to pay for his family vacations and purchase personal property. Besides, he usually records these blank signed checks in the accounting systems as legitimate expenses currently amounting to $300,000. After these events were established, the ethical dilemma that led to an ethical trap was whether the people who worked with him were aware of or had an indication of his involvement in the embezzlement of organizational funds (Hoyk & Hersey, 2010). The potential ethical trap is the ethical decision­-making process that may have occurred. It involves two questions of what should we do and what will we do. It was important for the CEO to engage in the ethical decision-making process to save himself from the troubles.

The ethical dilemma and the potential ethical trap could have been avoided by employees integrating ethical standards in the organization’s operations. Moreover, the organization’s management alongside the employees could have pushed for compliance with ethical standards that could have prevented the embezzlement of organizational funds by the CEO. Having ethical standards and following them helps to reduce the number of incidences of ethical dilemmas encountered in an organization.


Hoyk, R., & Hersey, P. (2010). Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps that Every One of Us Falls Prey To. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Retrieved from

Tang, T. L. P. (2016). Theory of monetary intelligence: Money attitudes—religious values, making money, making ethical decisions, and making the grade. Journal of business Ethics133(3), 583-603. Retrieved from