How an Ethical Issue Causes Stress in the Workplace

A lack of ethics can cause stress in the workplace.
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The difference in the ethics of a company -- whether it's the corner grocery or an international bank -- and your personal ethics can cause a lot of stress. You also are going to feel stressed when others at work -- maybe even a boss -- acts unethically. According to the "International Journal of Business and Social Science," ethics includes honesty, integrity, respect and caring about other people. But sometimes at work, you can get caught up in conflict over what you think is the right thing to do and what you actually end up doing.


    Working hard on a daily basis usually leads to advancement opportunities. You expect to receive recognition for your contributions. However, when a boss takes credit for your ideas and work it can be a major stress factor in the workplace, and you may feel you do not want to work as hard as you normally would. According to "Forbes," an ethical boss does not need to steal ideals from a subordinate. They are confident in their own abilities, so instead, they encourage teamwork. A credit-stealing boss is emotionally draining.


    When you start a job, you are told how many hours you will work. If you work five days a week from 9 to 5, you expect that to be the norm every week. However, if your boss makes it a habit of showing up on Friday afternoons to ask you to come in on Saturday -- you soon will feel stress. On the one hand you feel overworked, but you also may feel that you need to put in the overtime to accommodate the needs of the company. The inner conflict between getting your work completed on time and balancing with the rest of your life can lead to feelings of stressed helplessness.

Differences in Values

    Differences in values are a major source of stress in the workforce. Many companies require that you be selfish and even ruthless in your dealings with competitors. This can cause a major conflict in someone who places value in honesty, loyalty and sharing. It can also result in feelings of resentment and poor performance. Apply for jobs at companies whose ethical standards are in line with your own. Ask about a potential employer's standards when you go for your first interview. If you discover your values are different after you begin work, it may be time to look for another job.


    Ethical demands and stress at work can cause havoc on your health. According to the "International Journal of Business and Social Science," prolonged stress can cause both psychological and physical illness. This can lead to missed days at work, low morale and conflict between work and family. There even are going to be bad times at work that turn into bad times at home. Try to perform your job to the best of your ability, and excuse yourself from tasks that you deem as unethical.

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