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Sports: Controlling Unethical & Illegal Behavior Cheat Sheet by

Strategies for Controlling Unethical and Illegal Behavior
ethics     sports     behavior     strategies     illegal     controlling     unethical


In order to prevent unethical and illegal behavior sport managers at all levels must take an active role. The following strate­gies, adapted from Rein (9), for contro­lling unethical and illegal behavior in sport organi­zat­ions, may be implem­ented at all levels of manage­ment. Sport managers should:


1. Identify specific ethica­l/legal standards that have been compro­mised and determine why they occurred. For example, does the organi­zat­ion’s culture support unethical behavior?

2. Identify and analyze their specific respon­sib­ilities and management decisions and determine if they would feel comfor­table telling their superiors, or other sport managers about their actions and decisions. If they would not feel comfor­table in doing that, then they should reevaluate those actions and decisions in light of ethica­l/legal and more consid­era­tions.

3. Take an active role in discussing ethica­l/legal and moral consid­era­tions in sport. They should not assume that reinfo­rcing ethical behavior should be
someone else’s respon­sib­ility, but should assert their organi­zat­ion’s concerns and policies in all matters related to unethical and deviant behavior, and address the critical issues facing sport generally and their organi­zation specif­ically.

4. Assure all consti­tue­ncies (commu­nity, faculty, fans, etc.) that ethical consid­era­tions are important to the way that their sport organi­zations are managed. However, sport managers must be committed to ensure that the conduct of the entire organi­zation reflects high standards.

5. Evaluate policies and operating procedures in terms of ethics. Are the establ­ished goals of the organi­zation realistic? Sport managers should avoid establ­ishing goals that are unreal­istic because they may engender the attitude that “anything goes- the end justifies the means.”

6. Promote the concept of honesty over expedi­ency. They should encourage an accurate repres­ent­ation of their organi­zation by all members.

7. Involve all levels of the organi­zation in ethical concerns. Delegate authority to establish ethical guidelines for various dimensions of the organi­zation and, if feasible, “establish quality circles on codes of conduct and ethical behavior”.

Ethics in Sports

Strategies Continued

8. Hold “ethics workshops” for personnel, manage­ment, and athletes and determine if there is a need for a compre­hensive code of ethics for the organi­zation to help reduce unethical and deviant behavior and to develop a culture of integrity. According to Eitzen, “codes of conduct are required that are strictly monitored and admini­stered at all levels of sport to keep the actions of those involved as close to the ethical high road as possible.”

9. Send repres­ent­atives from the organi­zation to speak publicly about ethical questions and topics. Sport managers should reinforce ethical values that relate to matters vital to the welfare and success of their organi­zat­ions.

10. Publicize and reinforce positive examples of ethical conduct. They should consider holding seminars with media to inform the organi­zat­ion’s consti­tue­ncies of the approp­riate and ethical behaviors within their organi­zat­ions.

11. Coordinate the organi­zat­ion’s efforts to speak out and to answer false or unjust media or public criticism of the organi­zat­ion’s ethical conduct.

12. Include ethical behavior, conduct, and goals as an integral part of the organi­zat­ion’s manage­men­t-b­y-o­bje­ctives and/or perfor­mance appraisal system. In addition, it is quite clear from the literature that if unethical and deviant behavior is going to be reduced in sport organi­zat­ions, respon­sible action must start at the top. Those in high level management positions must set the moral tone of the organi­zation. In summary, if sport managers are going to control unethical and deviant behavior, they cannot depend upon increased regula­tions, enforc­ement, or legisl­ation. They must implement strategies designed to reinforce ethical values within all levels of the sport organi­zation.

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