Meta-Organizational Factors Affecting the Ethical Practices and Decision-Making of Engineering Consulting Firms

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. Student in Project Management and Construction, Faculty of Arts, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Ph.D. in Project Management, Faculty of Arts, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy, faculty of theology and Islamic studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

4 Ph.D. in Planning Higher Education Development, Department of Planning for Higher Education, Institute for Research & Planning in Higher Education, Tehran, Iran.

5 Ph.D. in Economics, Department of Commercial Economics, Faculty of Economics, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran.


Problem Statement: Interviews with the practitioners of the “Iran Engineering and Executive System (IEES)” indicate that there is a contradiction between the ethical judgments and practices of the Engineering Consulting Firms (ECF).
Although the majority of firms consider ethical practices as a major goal, despite the individual differences of the board of directors and organizational differences of the firms, many of their decisions and practices are not according to ethical values such as honesty and respecting the interests of all stakeholders. In the literature, such issues are studied in the field of ethical decision-making.
It seems that the existing ethical decision-making theories and models have neglected the influence of meta-organizational factors (MOFs) on the ethical decisions and practices of organizations, and the lack of a clear theoretical framework for explaining the ethical practices of organizations at the system level, that requires attention to meta-organization factors, is evident in the literature.
Research Objectives: Due to the literature gap to explain the research problem, the identification of MOFs affecting the ethical practice and decision-making of ECFs has been considered as the research goal.
Research Method: Considering that there is not a clear theoretical framework in the literature to analyze the research problem, the qualitative research method and Grounded Theory methodology of Strauss and Carbine have been used.
Conclusion: “Imposing Double Pressure on ECFs” has led to the emergence of the phenomenon of “Ethical Yield Stress”, which is a major contributor to the conflict between judgments and ethical practices of ECFs. On the other hand, MOFs such as “Inefficiency of Public Executive Agencies” and “Inefficiency of the IEES” have provided the contextual conditions of adopting unethical action-interaction strategies by the ECFs in the IEES.


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