Effective practices for improving service professionals’ ethical behaviors: A multiple method study

Ying Hu, Yefei Yang, Peter K. C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Enhancing frontline professional service employees’ ethics has been an increasingly important issue for organizations in sustaining their reputation and long-term profitability. While many organizations have implemented general ethics programes such as ethics codes and ethical training, unethical scandals regularly still appear in many service organizations. This research offers new insights into the practices that can effectively enhance marketing practitioners’ ethical behaviors and the pertinent contextual factors that have a bearing on the effectiveness of ethics programes.

Methods: It uses a multi-method methodology to conduct two studies in the Chinese banking setting. Based on the rank of revenue and profitability published by Fortune magazine of year 2021, in Study 1, we choose five main Chinese banking organizations to conduct case studies to explore the framework of effective ethics programes of banks. In Study 2 we use the valid instruments from the literature to measure the involved constructs and employs data from randomly selected 146 frontline banking teams in five main Chinese banking organizations to examine the effectiveness of three specific ethics practices and ascertain the moderating role of role stress in such effectiveness.

Results and discussion: Our findings indicate the effective behavior control practices within organizations’ ethics programes and the implications of having a stressful workplace when adopting such practices. In addition, we integrate organizational concepts regarding behavior control and employee ethics, and use two empirical methods to systematically explore the effectiveness of ethics programes. This paper advances the management and marketing literature and has significant managerial implications for improving frontline service professionals’ ethical behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1042142
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 Hu, Yang and Lee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


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